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No new COVID-19 deaths as N.B. marks 4 years of pandemic

COVID-19 has hospitalized 1,354 New Brunswickers and  sent 89 of them to intensive care since Aug. 27, 2023, the start of this respiratory season. The COVID-19 pandemic started four years ago. (Patrick Lacelle/Radio-Canada - image credit)
COVID-19 has hospitalized 1,354 New Brunswickers and sent 89 of them to intensive care since Aug. 27, 2023, the start of this respiratory season. The COVID-19 pandemic started four years ago. (Patrick Lacelle/Radio-Canada - image credit)

New Brunswick reported no new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, the four-year anniversary of the first confirmed case of the virus in the province and in Atlantic Canada.

The last time New Brunswick recorded no COVID deaths was six months ago, the week of Sept. 10, 2023.

No flu deaths occurred during the reporting week of Feb. 25 to March 2 either, according to the Respiratory Watch report.

COVID activity remains "moderate," while influenza activity increased "slightly," it says, including a jump in flu hospitalizations, two of whom were aged five to 19.

Twenty people were hospitalized because of COVID or for something else and later tested positive for the virus during the reporting week, down from 30 in the previous report. Nineteen of them were aged 65 or older and the other was aged 45 to 64.

None required intensive care, unchanged.

The 20 people hospitalized for or with COVID-19 during the week ending March 2 is about double the number hospitalized at the same time last year, this chart in the Respiratory Watch report indicates.
The 20 people hospitalized for or with COVID-19 during the week ending March 2 is about double the number hospitalized at the same time last year, this chart in the Respiratory Watch report indicates.

The 20 people hospitalized for or with COVID-19 during the week ending March 2 is about double the number hospitalized at the same time last year, when only hospitalizations because of COVID were counted. (Government of New Brunswick)

Five COVID outbreaks were declared, all in nursing homes, compared to six outbreaks the previous week.

A total of 74 new cases of COVID were confirmed through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab tests, with a positivity rate of six per cent. That's down from 80 and seven per cent, respectively.

There have been 146,712 COVID-19 vaccines administered since Oct. 4, the Department of Health says.

COVID-19 has killed at least 1,017 New Brunswickers since the pandemic began in the province on March 12, 2020, with the first confirmed case.

The woman in her 50s, from southeastern New Brunswick, had returned from France, and was announced as a "presumptive," or probable case, the day before, just hours after the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, infecting more than 100,000 people in more than 100 countries.

The actual provincial death toll is unclear because the Department of Health has counted only people who die in hospital as COVID deaths since September.

14 flu hospitalization, up from none

The flu sent 14 people to hospital between Feb. 25 and March 2, up from none in last week's report.

In addition to the two people under 19 admitted to hospital, there were four people aged 45 to 64 and eight people aged 65 or older, one of whom required intensive care.

One nursing home declared a lab-confirmed flu outbreak, up from none, and one school reported an "influenza-like illness" outbreak, down from two.

There were 120 new cases of the flu confirmed by labs, a nearly 35 per cent increase from the 89 cases in the previous report.

Of these, 74 were influenza B, 38 were influenza A (unsubtyped) and eight were influenza A (H1N1 pdm09).

The positivity rate  — or the percentage of lab tests performed that produced a positive result — is 11 per cent, up from eight.

These latest cases raise the respiratory season total to 2,744 cases since Aug. 27, according to the report.

A total of 221,587 New Brunswickers have been vaccinated for against the flu so far this season, figures from the Department of Health show.

CBC requested an interview with Dr. Yves Léger, the province's acting chief medical officer of health, but did not receive a response.

8 Horizon health-care workers off sick

Horizon Health Network has 21 active COVID-19 hospitalizations, as of Saturday, up from 18 a week earlier, according to its COVID dashboard. None of the patients are in ICU, down from two.

Eight Horizon health-care workers are off sick after testing positive for the virus, down from 10.

There are COVID outbreaks at two Horizon hospitals, as of Monday, its website shows. The Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton has outbreaks on the orthopedics; ear, nose, throat, and plastics unit as well as the transitional care unit, while the Charlotte County Hospital in St. Stephen has an outbreak on the family medicine unit (Floor 1).

Vitalité Health Network updates its COVID-19 report only monthly, with the next report not expected until March 26.

Its outbreaks page is updated more frequently, but as of Tuesday evening, it hasn't been updated since March 5.