NB COVID-19: Cases on the rise

Over the past week, the number of positive PCRs and rapid COVID-19 tests nearly doubled from the previous week in New Brunswick, and the province added four more deaths, bringing the total to 429.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jennifer Russell says the BA.5 subvariant is “growing at a higher rate than BA.4” and accounts for 33% of random samples sequenced.

She says they’re watching the rise in other provinces — like Ontario and Quebec — but can’t confirm if New Brunswick is still seeing the same trends.

“Right now, all I can tell you is that we are seeing an increase in the number of all levels in terms of POCT tests, PCR tests, hospitalizations, etc.,” she said. declared. “We are monitoring this closely.”

She said initially, modeling in the spring suggested another wave in the fall – but with COVID-19, “there are no guarantees”.

In New Brunswick, fourth doses, or second boosters, are only available to people age 50 and older as long as five months have passed since their last injection.

When that will change, Russell couldn’t say.

“We really base our decisions on what is happening in New Brunswick right now. And our epidemiology team is really continuing to steer us toward the people most at risk, and so those are the people we really need to make sure they’re eligible and get those reminders out to them,” he said. she declared.

This includes those most at risk of hospitalization, including people aged 60 to 79, people living in long-term care facilities and people with chronic illnesses.

Liberal leadership hope Donald Arseneault spoke out on social media, asking why – if there is a supply – these boosters are not being made available to the general public.

Arseneault, 47, successfully secured an appointment at a pharmacy, but was told the same day by the pharmacy that they could not give it to him due to his age.

He has since caught COVID-19 and says he knows several others who have also recently caught the virus.

“A good friend of mine in Saint John, I asked him why he didn’t go to the Memorial Cup last week and he said COVID is going on now,” he said. “We had a Canada Day event in Dieppe last Wednesday and I know of five people with COVID who were potentially linked to that event – ​​there were 150 people crammed into that room.”

Russell couldn’t say the 12-day Memorial Cup event was the culprit, but did confirm numbers in the Saint John area are the highest in the province.

“What I can say is when you look at the numbers from a zone perspective, from a region perspective, we’re definitely seeing the highest number right now in zone two and a strong increase there,” she said. “Again, we know the risks increase when you’re indoors, without a mask, etc. So the more time people spend outdoors, the lower the risk.”

Prince Edward Island encourages anyone over the age of 12 to get their booster, no matter which one.

The island reported 1,070 new cases last week, with 10 people hospitalized. Anyone 12 and older is eligible as long as six months have passed since their last shot, or three months after contracting the virus.

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