FREDERICTON (GNB) – People with COVID-19 symptoms are required to register online for a PCR test or rapid test under the provincial government’s new testing strategy.

By completing the online form, people can determine which type of test they are eligible to receive.

Those with symptoms, and who are aged two to 49 and do not live in a vulnerable setting, will be advised to take a rapid test. After registering their information, people can book an appointment to pick up a rapid-test kit at a local assessment centre. Anyone picking up rapid tests must present an email confirmation of their appointment.

PCR tests are reserved for people at the highest risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19. These include:

  • Health-care workers and those who live or work in long-term care facilities, homeless shelters and correctional facilities.
  • People who are symptomatic and aged 50 and over.
  • People who are symptomatic and immunocompromised.
  • People who are symptomatic and pregnant.
  • People who are identified as a priority by Public Health.

People who need a PCR test for travel, residents of First Nations communities and children under two are also eligible to receive a PCR test.

People who are isolating because of their symptoms are permitted to leave isolation to attend a test appointment.

“Due to rising case numbers caused by the Omicron variant, we need to ensure that every person with symptoms is able to get a test,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “This means that people without symptoms do not qualify for a rapid-test kit. There is no need to stockpile tests. If you have extra test kits at home and do not have symptoms right now, I encourage you to share them with family and friends who may need them. We anticipate access to additional rapid tests over the coming days and weeks for anyone who has symptoms and must ensure we are protecting our most vulnerable.”

Hospitalizations and case numbers

Public Health reported there are 16 people in intensive care and another 43 in hospital for a total of 59 people hospitalized. Of those in hospital, 41 are over the age of 60 and 10 people are on a ventilator. No one under 19 is hospitalized. Hundreds of health-care workers across the province continue to isolate at home due to the virus. The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated. Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations based on vaccination status, the age and origin of new cases, and additional information, is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Based upon information available from PCR tests, Public Health is reporting 65 recoveries and 779 new cases of COVID-19 today. Effective Saturday, Jan. 8, PCR-confirmed test numbers and other data updates will be available only on the dashboard and will not be included in future news releases.

“We know that the PCR cases we will be reporting are not a true reflection of the severity of the situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “We need to remember that COVID-19 is all around us and we need to follow public health measures, including getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster when eligible.”

Of the new reported cases, 264 are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), 202 are in Zone 2 (Saint John region), 93 are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), 70 are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), 24 are in Zone 5 (Campbellton region), 47 are in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) and 79 are in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).

Three people have died as a result of COVID-19. One person 50-59 in Zone 2 (Saint John region) and a person 50-59 and another person 70-79 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region).

As of today, 83 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 90.4 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine and 21.9 per cent have received a booster dose.

Learn more

All of New Brunswick is in the Level 2 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19. More information on the COVID-19 alert system, including guidance on public health measures, restrictions and the mandatory order, is available online.

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