New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The replacement dashboard for the COVID-19 is still shrouded in mystery

The replacement dashboard for the COVID-19 is still shrouded in secrecy.

Key Takeaways:

  • On Tuesday, the province of New Brunswick is expected to launch its new COVID-19 website, but it is unclear what information will be included.
  • On Monday, the Vitalité Health Network did not respond to requests for comment, but as of last Friday, it had 61 COVID patients in its hospital, bringing the total number of COVID patients in the province to 186.
  • According to the dashboard, on March 29, hospital occupancy across the province was 90 percent, with ICU bed occupancy at 73 percent.

New Brunswick is predicted to launch its new COVID-19 website on Tuesday, but it is unclear what information will be included.

The COVID-19 dashboard, reduced to weekly updates in recent weeks, has been replaced by the weekly page, which is part of Public Health’s communicable diseases website.

A request for comment from the Department of Health on whether all of the same data will still be available was not returned on Monday.

However, last month, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer, told CBC that the region would take action “Reduce reporting to more of a monitoring dashboard… similar to the flu, and so on.”

The following items are included in weekly influenza surveillance reports:

  • Positive influenza cases with lab confirmation, broken down by health region.
  • Hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths linked to influenza.
  • According to laboratory confirmation, outbreaks in nursing homes and “other settings” are broken down by health region.
  • Illness outbreaks in schools, broken down by health region, based on schools reporting a rate of absenteeism of more than 10% due to Illness.
  • The number of people seeking medical help for a flu-like illness is rising (ILI).
Image from CBC News

The data is shown in the form of a summary, graphs, tables, and a map divided into health zones.

There is no age breakdown, no vaccination data, and no data on hospital occupancy or the number of sick healthcare workers.

The report also provides an overview of influenza activity in Canada and worldwide.

The latest weekly influenza report available is from March 6-12, nearly a month ago.

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There are fewer data to assess the risk.

Critics argue that the government is asking New Brunswickers to manage their COVID-19 risks now that all Public Health measures have been removed while also providing less information about the virus to help them assess that risk.

Part of adjusting to life with COVID-19, according to Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane, is “the reallocation of our time and resources to other Public Health priority areas.”

He didn’t respond to a request to explain why the new weekly page will take less time or resources to maintain or more information on the other “priority areas.”

Horizon currently has 125 COVID patients.

As of the most current update on March 29, New Brunswick had reported 13 COVID-related deaths during the last seven days, as well as 142 people hospitalized across the province, with eight in intensive care.

On Monday, Horizon Health Network reported 125 COVID hospital patients, 13 required ICU.

The Vitalité Health Network did not react to requests for comment on Monday, but as of last Friday, it had 61 hospitalized COVID patients, bringing the provincial total to 186.

At the end of February, 89 people were hospitalized across the province.

Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton is 97% full, with 45 COVID patients, such as one in ICU. In comparison, Saint John Regional Hospital and Moncton Hospitals are both 95% full, with 33 COVID patients (seven in ICU) and  30 COVID patients (three in ICU), respectively.

The replacement dashboard for the COVID-19 is still shrouded in secrecy.
The replacement dashboard for the COVID-19 is still shrouded in secrecy. Image from The Globe and Mail

Upper River Valley Hospital of Waterville is at 85% capacity, with 4 COVID patients (none in ICU), as well as Miramichi Regional Hospital is at 72%, with 13 COVID patients (two in ICU).

As of April 1, Vitalité facilities were operating at 103% capacity.

According to the dashboard, hospital occupancy was 90% across the province on March 29, with ICU bed occupancy at 73%.

Horizon has 228, down from 274 last week; healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19.

Zone 2, the Saint John region, has the highest percentage, with 81 percent, followed by the Moncton region, Zone 1, with 69 percent, Fredericton, Zone 3, with 65 percent, and Miramichi, Zone 7, with 13 percent.

However, Vitalité reported a 41% increase in sick workers in just eight days, with 352 employees out due to COVID-19 as of March 30.

Regional health networks have stated that they will remain on red alert until further notice, with limitations such as mandatory masking and a ban on general visitors.

Cases are on the rise, according to Vitalité, and the sixth wave of COVID-19 is expected to arrive soon, according to Horizon.

Source: CBC News

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