Status Report – Horizon hospitals return to Red alert level

We are dealing with a fifth wave of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. The highly contagious Omicron variant has resulted in a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among our population.

This has impacted Horizon’s staffing levels in an already stretched health care system.

Horizon has made the decision to move our hospitals to the red alert level effective immediately. We are reducing services and managing bed capacity so we can adapt to these staffing challenges.

The goal of these changes is to relocate health care staff to the areas of most need, including inpatient units, ICUs, Emergency Departments, COVID-19 Assessment Centres and Vaccination Clinics.

Our community services such as health centres/clinics and Addiction and Mental Health Services willnotmove to the red alert level.

In summary, the hospital service changes occurring as a result of the move to red level are:

  • Non-urgent medical procedures and elective surgerieswill be postponed. Unless contacted by Horizon, appointments are postponed. Patients and clients will be contacted to reschedule when the situation allows.
  • Ambulatory Outpatient Clinic and Professional Services(such as laboratory services, blood and specimen collection and Diagnostic Imaging) appointments will be postponed for non-urgent cases. Again, unless contacted by Horizon, appointments are postponed. Patients and clients will be contacted to reschedule when the situation allows.
  • There are no social visitors allowedin our hospitals. Some exceptions to these visitor restrictions are in place for patients who are eligible for a designated support person. More information on visitor restrictions is available on our website.
  • Horizon’shealth centres and community health centres will continueto provide access to primary care at current levels.  
  • Addiction and Mental Health Services for adults, youth and children will continue at current levels.
  • All patients, clients and support persons willcontinue to be screened for COVID-19 symptomsand asked a series of questions upon entry to our facilities.
  • We will continue to urge patients to seek alternate options for non-urgent health care needs, rather than presenting to an Emergency Department/Urgent Care Centre.

Our priority continues to be providing as many urgent and emergency services as possible for our patients and clients while keeping our staff, physicians and communities safe.

We continue to be challenged by this pandemic, and I know that after almost two years we are all tired. Thank you for continuing to support one another in the face of these added pressures.

Hospital Operations Update

Hospital Occupancy Rates

  • The Moncton Hospital (TMH): 90%
  • Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH): 91%
  • Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (Fredericton) (DECRH): 91%
  • Upper River Valley Hospital (Waterville) (URVH): 81%
  • Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH): 94%

Number of staff off work due to COVID-19 related reasons

  • Saint John Area: 300
  • Fredericton/Upper River Valley Area: 75
  • Moncton Area: 67
  • Miramichi Area: 26
  • Total: 468

Surgery Cancellations

  • 59 surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 since Dec. 20.

COVID-19 Assessment Centre Delays

COVID-19 Assessment Centres continue to experience increased demands for testing.

  • Saint John Area: A backlog of 2,100 referrals
  • Fredericton: A backlog of 450 referrals
  • Moncton: A backlog of 620 referrals

COVID-19 Outbreaks

The Moncton Hospital (TMH)

  • The COVID-19 outbreak on the Stroke and Family Medicine Unit (4600), which includes the Rehabilitation Unit (4400), has had no new cases since Dec. 16.
  • The COVID-19 outbreak on the Family Practice and Geriatric Unit (5100) has had no new cases since Dec. 13.
  • There was a COVID-19 outbreak declared on the Neurology and Neurology Surgery Unit (4100). Two positive patient cases were confirmed on Thursday, Dec. 30. Testing of staff and patients is continuing.

Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH)

  • The COVID-19 outbreak on the Medical Stepdown (2 West) unit has had no new cases since Wednesday, Dec. 15.
  • The COVID-19 outbreaks on the Alternate Level of Care Unit (ALC) and Palliative Unit (4 East) have had no new cases since Dec. 25. 

*There are no COVID-19 outbreaks at URVH, SJRH or DECRH.

– 30 –