New Brunswick reported four more deaths linked to COVID-19 as the province prepares to enter a 16-day lockdown Friday night.
The deaths include two individuals in their 70s and two in their 80s.
There are a total of 103 hospitalizations, including 11 New Brunswickers in intensive care and three on a ventilator.
The province says 52 of those hospitalized were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19. It also says 64 per cent of those in ICU are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or it has been more than six months since their second dose.
There are two individuals aged 19 or under who are in hospital with the virus.
The province reported 426 new PCR-confirmed cases of the virus and 756 rapid test positives reported to public health.
“Rapid test counts are self-reported and may not be accurate,” according to the provincial dashboard.
Level 3 of the COVID-19 winter plan goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday night, and will remain until Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.
On Thursday, health officials said reducing the number of hospitalizations is critical for the province.
“It’ll be a tough two weeks but we need to do this,” said Premier Blaine Higgs in the briefing, adding that after going through extensive data from public health, there was no other choice but to move to Level 3 of the alert system.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell pleaded New Brunswickers to not look for loopholes when new restrictions go into effect.
“It is no exaggeration to say this is a matter of life and death,” she said Thursday.
Level 3 restrictions include the following:
- Single-household bubble
- No indoor public gatherings
- Shutting down gyms, spas and entertainment centres
- Restaurants can operate on take-out and delivery only
- Encouraged use of contactless curbside pickup and/or designate one person from the household to go shopping if feasible to reduce contacts
- Faith venues can hold outdoor, virtual or in-car services only
- Organized sports not permitted
- Organized sports and all other organized activities are not permitted with people outside a single-household bubble
- Outdoor exercise or activities like skiing, skating or snowmobiling are permitted, as long as Public Health measures are followed and you are within your single-household bubble
- Lodges and other facilities that support outdoor sport must not exceed 50 per cent capacity and must not permit food or drink to be consumed indoors.
The province also says at-home learning will be extended for another week. Students are set to return to classrooms on Jan. 31.
Health officials continue encouraging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including getting their second and booster doses. As of Monday, all New Brunswickers over the age of 18 became eligible for a third dose.
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