That figure is down from 541 last week.
“It seems that we have hit a plateau,” says Brigitte Sonier Ferguson, Vitalité Health Network’s vice president of university mission, performance and quality.
“However, the situation within our hospital establishments remains very fragile.”
While absences have been a major indicator of how the health-care system in New Brunswick has fared against the virus, capacity has also been closely monitored.
Moncton’s Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont hospital remains at 100 per cent capacity, while the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent is well over capacity, on paper at least, at 160 per cent.
But Sonier-Ferguson says that’s no reason to panic.
“What we have to understand is these numbers represent a snapshot in time,” she says. “Occupancy levels in our hospitals vary on a daily basis and reasons for this variation can be multi-factorial.”
Remaining at red
When New Brunswick lifted COVID-19 restrictions provincewide in March, hospitals across the two health networks remained at red alert levels, with masking and visitation restrictions in effect.
Sonier-Ferguson says that’s unlikely to change for a while.
“I think we’re going to be in a wait-and-see mode for a foreseeable future,” she says.
“We still have important numbers of people infected with COVID in the community. The numbers are still quite high. We always have to be on standby and in sort of a mode of steady surveillance.”
That level of caution, she says, is in place to protect both patients and staff.
“Losing one more staff member could be a very big problem for a particular unit,” says Dr. Mark MacMillan, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society.
“If you want your health-care system to continue to function as it has been, and hopefully better in the future, we need you to help us keep the system open.”
MacMillan says the apparent plateau in COVID-19 is promising – but that health care in the province was already under significant strain before the pandemic began.
Neither he nor Sonier-Ferguson are placing bets on when restrictions in the system may start to ease.