All N.B. hospitals to return to 'red level' by next week

All New Brunswick hospitals will return to a "red alert" level by next week, meaning some procedures considered non-urgent could be postponed.

The Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network say the internal measures are being re-implemented due to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations around the province.

Horizon says all of its hospitals will return to the heightened "red alert" level on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

The Vitalité Health Network says its facilities will go back to "red" by Tuesday, Oct. 12, however the Campbellton Regional Hospital is already at that level due to an outbreak of COVID-19 inside the building.

Horizon and Vitalité say the measures will temporarily affect a number of procedures from going forward, including elective surgeries, non-urgent medical imaging services, and physiotherapy appointments.

On Friday, 58 COVID-19 hospitalizations were reported in New Brunswick. Of that number, 30 patients were in the intensive-care unit.

"We don't have a lot of beds," said Dr. John Dornan, interim president and CEO of Horizon Health. "Out of 98 beds we might have 16 to 18 beds open right now. We're close to the brink."

"What do we do when we start to reach that? We start to look at (post-operation) recovery areas because they are critical care areas and we do put staff in those areas to help expand our I.C.U. capacity."

Patients have also been transported from crowded hospitals to other facilities in the province with more capacity.

Both health authorities have stopped visitors from entering New Brunswick hospitals, with some exceptions being granted.