New Brunswick’s top doctor says more than 3,000 backlogged PCR test requests are the combination of the vacation, the surge in COVID-19 cases that preceded it and the Omicron wave that the province is starting it all just to see.
“We have seen backlogs with increases in the past, so it’s not, again, a big surprise that you have an increase and an increase in demand and then you have a backlog,” said the Dr Jennifer Russell in an interview Wednesday.
“So this has been a pattern that we’ve seen. It is not uncommon. However, this time it’s different in the sense that you know it fell over Christmas time and we were already in a little wave with Delta and now we’re seeing Omicron.
Russell said the key indicator remains hospitalizations and the strain on those resources. She said the majority of hospitalized cases are Delta and not the newer, more transmissible variant called Omicron.
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On Monday, the province announced that assessment centers in some areas were experiencing a backlog of applications. The centers were closed on Christmas Day.
Zone 2 had a backlog of 2,100 complete PCR testing requests as of December 27. The Fredericton area had a backlog of 640 requests.
The next day the backlog increased by adding another area with test requests.
The Saint John area remained at 2,100 requests, the Fredericton area was reduced to 545 requests and Zone 1 or the Moncton area received 500 requests.
Public health said in the statement that it is prioritizing referrals from public health, healthcare workers and those who work or live in vulnerable settings (such as long-term care) within 48 hours in the region. Saint John. This timeframe for this category was 24 hours for the Moncton and Fredericton areas.
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“The next priorities are all symptomatic people as well as those who test positive in a point-of-care test. These people are booked for a test within 144 hours, ”said the Saint John area press release.
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It was 72 hours and 48 hours for the Fredericton and Moncton areas, respectively, for those who were symptomatic or had a positive rapid test but were not considered a priority group.
On Wednesday, the order book remained strong with progress made in zone 1.
The backlog in the Saint John area grew to 2,500 and the backlog in Fredericton went down to 450.
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Russell assured that the backlog would be dealt with.
“There has also been a testing backlog when it comes to PCR testing, however, we will be making up for that backlog and even when we are dealing with a backlog we always prioritize the highest level in terms of risking make sure these tests are done within 24 hours, ”she said.
The number of cases, most of the time, is breaking previously set records. On Tuesday, the province surpassed 2,000 active cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Russell did not directly respond to whether it was fair to say the government did not know the full extent of the pandemic as the backlog grew so large.
“I think that we must be aware of our limits of our health system and of the human resources aspect of the health system, and therefore there are a lot of discussions with the regional health authorities, with social development. , around doing we are sure that we can maximize the human resources required right now to deal with this particular wave of Omicron that we are facing right now, ”she said in an interview.
The province moved up to Level 2 on its winter action plan on Monday, which reduced the number of regular close contact on Wednesday, Russell urging people to try to reduce it.
Russell said it’s also important that people take any positive rapid test results seriously and that isolation begins the minute you test positive – no matter what subsequent rapid tests might indicate.
Anyone who tests positive on a rapid test in the province must request a confirmatory PCR test.
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