N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 21 new cases reported Monday, Fredericton-area school confirms case
Cardy issues warning to March break travellers, scolds resident who drove to Saint John to 'buy chicken'
- 21 new cases reported
- 204 active cases, highest number in N.B. since pandemic began
- Total case count in N.B. hits 800
- 7,732 vaccine doses have been administered
- Cardy blasts resident who left zone to buy chicken
- March break travellers warned
- Two Woodstock schools to move to online learning Tuesday
- Schools in New Maryland, Dalhousie latest to confirm cases
- 5 cases confirmed at Tobique First Nation
- Residents to be retested at Parkland Riverview
- Exposure notifications
Public Health reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Monday and the highest number of active cases altogether since the pandemic began.
There are 204 active cases, one person is in hospital and more than 1,700 New Brunswickers are in self-isolation, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, said at a COVID-19 briefing being livestreamed Monday afternoon.
The province's new total case count is 800 as of Monday, a sharp rise from the 601 total cases noted on Jan. 1 and the 717 noted four days ago, on Jan. 7, when the case count first topped 700.
The 21 new cases announced Monday are as follows:
Moncton region, Zone 1, four cases, including:
- two people 19 and under;
- an individual 20 to 29; and
- an individual 30 to 39.
Fredericton region, Zone 3, seven cases, including:
- an individual 19 and under;
- an individual 20 to 29;
- two people 30 to 39;
- an individual 40 to 49;
- an individual 60 to 69, and
- an individual 80 to 89.
Edmundston region, Zone 4, six cases, including:
- three people 50 to 59; and
- three people 60 to 69.
Campbellton region, Zone 5, four cases, including:
- an individual 19 and under;
- an individual 30 to 39; and
- two people 40 to 49.
A total of tests 163,556 have been done during the pandemic so far, including 1,458 since the last report.
Update on vaccine numbers, clinics
Vaccine clinics are planned in Saint John, Edmundston, Fredericton and Campbellton this week for priority groups, Public Health said Monday.
As of Monday, 7,732 vaccine doses have been administered in New Brunswick, with 1,862 fully vaccinated with the required two doses and 3,343 doses being held for a second dose. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses.
"This is a very slow process because there is such a limited supply of vaccines right now," Dr. Jennifer Russell said at Monday's COVID-19 briefing.
Russell said that the availability and delivery of vaccines will ramp up in the coming months.
In the meantime, she said, the province is taking steps to improve the vaccine rollout plan.
They include the recent delivery of new ultra-cold freezer units, used to store vaccines, to hospitals in several zones and the updating of the province's online COVID-19 dashboard.
The dashboard now has a "vaccines" category, with weekly updates on the number of doses of vaccine received, the number of doses administered, the number of doses held for the second dose and the number of people fully vaccinated, Russell said.
This section will be updated weekly.
'Robust' plan to cover absent health-care workers
As of Monday, there are about 85 health-care workers self-isolating, including Ambulance New Brunswick and Extramural staff, Dr. Jennifer Russell said at the COVID-19 briefing Monday.
Numbers provided by the Horizon Health Network show that about half of those, or 49 people, are Horizon health-care workers, including seven in the Miramichi area, 17 in the Fredericton area, 16 in the Moncton area and six in the Saint John area.
Russell said that these numbers are monitored on a daily basis, and that both Horizon and Vitalité have a "robust plan" to redeploy staff to areas of critical vacancies, if needed.
"So far that's been working very well," Russell said.
March break travellers warned
Education Minister Cardy has asked residents to cancel or not book March break travel this year and had choice words for those who choose to ignore that request.
At Public Health's COVID-19 briefing Monday afternoon, Cardy said he "really doesn't have time for people who think the rules don't apply to them," singling out people "who decide to take vacations" or take part in anti-mask protests.
Such behaviour is "deplorable and dangerous," Cardy said, noting that it's increasingly clear that travel is a key source of COVID-19 cases in the province.
"Anyone in New Brunswick who decides it's appropriate to go on a March break holiday is committing an act of selfishness," he said. "They're taking health-care resources away from people who need it and exposing themselves as people not worthy of the title of 'citizens.' "
Cardy further warned that there would be "consequences" for ignoring the rules, although he did not specify what those would be.
"No one wants to be talking about this," he said. "We need to pay attention to the rules so we can get on with normal life. ... Stay on board, follow the rules."
Cardy blasts resident who left zone to buy chicken
When the entire province was rolled back to the orange phase on Jan. 5, Premier Blaine Higgs urged New Brunswickers not to travel outside of their zone.
On Monday, Education Minister Dominic Cardy directly blasted the "tiny minority" of people who are refusing to listen to that advice and to the pleas of Public Health, urging them to "open your eyes, turn on the news."
He gave the specific example of "someone I'm close to," who told him on the weekend that her son had decided that "best response to the province going orange was to drive to Saint John from Fredericton for the express purpose of buying chicken."
When asked, "What are you doing, how could you be putting people at risk?" they responded, "LOL," Cardy said.
The province's own recovery plan website states that under the orange phase, "necessary travel only is recommended in and out of orange level zones" with the exception of travel for work, school, essential errands and medical appointments.
Asked late Monday if this person, or any person, would face repercussions for travelling outside of their zone for such a reason, spokespersons for the departments of education and public safety replied that they are looking into it.
Two more schools report confirmed cases
Two schools confirmed news of a positive case on Monday, one in the Fredericton area and another in northern New Brunswick.
In a letter sent home to parents Monday afternoon, Anglophone West district superintendent David McTimoney confirmed a positive case at New Maryland Elementary School in New Maryland, just outside of Fredericton.
He noted that if a family is not contacted by Public Health, they should continue to send their child to school.
"To protect the privacy of students and school personnel, details, including names of those affected, will not be released," McTimoney said.
In Dalhousie, École Aux quatre vents said on its Facebook page that students will be learning virtually on Monday as preventive measure.
"We will inform you on the situation throughout the day," the high school said in French.
The case was confirmed Saturday.
As a result, more than 1,000 students in the Woodstock area were self-isolating over the weekend. That was lifted late Sunday evening, but students will be learning from home until at least Friday.
Contact tracing is also underway in the Campbellton region after two schools confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
One case was confirmed at both Académie Notre-Dame in Dalhousie and Polyvalente Roland-Pépin in Campbellton, according to Public Health.
In the case of the Campbellton-area schools, only those contacted by Public Health will need to self-isolate.
Garderie Tic Tac Toe, a Dalhousie daycare centre, also reported one case.
5 cases confirmed at Tobique First Nation
Tobique First Nation near Perth-Andover has five confirmed cases of COVID-19, the chief says.
The First Nation moved itself into the red phase on Friday after reports of two cases of the virus were confirmed.
"Everybody has done a good job following the rules and everybody knows how serious it is," said Chief Ross Perley.
"We're sticking together as a community."
Checkpoints have gone up on the perimeter of the First Nation to keep all non-essential visitors away. Community members are permitted to leave two times a day for essential items and medical appointments.
Perley said there is a lot of anxiety and fear in the community, but it was important to take action.
"We have a high percentage of elderly [people] in the community."
Further testing and contract tracing took place over the weekend.
Chiefs are also expected to meet with Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, on Tuesday to discuss a vaccine rollout.
"I'm hoping we'll get a clear picture of a timeline of how the province is going to roll out vaccinations for Indigenous people here in the province, considering we're a priority group," he said.
44 new cases announced over the weekend
New Brunswick Public Health reported 14 new cases on Sunday and 30 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of active cases to 184.
The new cases reported Sunday include:
- Four in Zone 2 (Saint John region): Two people aged 30 to 39; an individual in their 40s; and an individual in their 80s.
- Five cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region): Two people 19 and under; an individual in their 20s; and two people aged 30 to 39.
- Three cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region): Two people aged 20 to 29; and an individual in their 50s.
- One case in Zone 5 (Campbellton region): An individual in their 50s.
- One case in Zone 6 (Bathurst region): An individual in their 20s.
There are 59 active cases in the Fredericton region, 47 in the Moncton region, 37 in the Saint John region, 19 in the Edmundston region, 21 in the Campbellton region, and 1 in the Bathurst region.
The Miramichi region (Zone 7) is the only part of the province without a confirmed case of COVID-19.
After four cases were confirmed at Woodstock schools, Mayor Arthur Slipp said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health in New Brunswick, will be meeting municipal leaders in the area to discuss the prevention of further spread.
He is also encouraging residents to download the COVID-19 alert app to prevent further outbreaks.
Residents to be retested at Parkland Riverview
Residents at Parkland Riverview will be retested on Tuesday after a confirmed case was announced at the seniors home last week.
Lisa Snodgrass, director of clinical practice and infection prevention and control specialist with Shannex, said residents were tested last week and each test came back negative.
"We don't want to take any chances," she said.
If tests come back negative again, Snodgrass said the facility will discuss with Public Health to see if any restrictions can be lifted.
Right now, residents are remaining in their rooms and can only interact with family and friends virtually.
Staff are entering their rooms with personal protective equipment that has to be changed between visits with residents.
Snodgrass said the infected employee works in Canterbury Hall and is doing well.
There are no new cases at Parkland Saint John, Fundy Royal Manor (Hillsborough), Canterbury Hall at Parkland Riverview or at Foyer Ste-Elizabeth (Baker-Brook), Dr. Jennifer Russell said Monday.
Public Health identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights:
- Jan. 1 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:30 a.m.
Public Health also identified potential public exposure at the following locations:
- Bo Diddley's Lounge, 295 Collishaw St., on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (285 Collishaw St., Moncton)
- Miss Cue pool hall, 495 Mountain Rd., Moncton, Dec. 31 from 11 p.m. to Jan. 1 at 1:30 a.m.
- Walmart, 4 Jagoe St., Atholville, on Dec. 30 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and on Dec. 31 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Moncton Squash Club, 71 Essex St., on Dec. 29, 30 and 31 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Foggerz Five-O-Six, an e-cigarette store in Woodstock, has closed because of possible COVID-19 exposure.
If you were at any of these locations, and you have no symptoms of COVID-19, self-monitor and follow all Public Health guidelines. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and do not need to talk to a nurse, complete the self-assessment and get tested.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
A fever above 38 C.
A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.
With files from Elizabeth Fraser