New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Russell says vaccine administration will likely take 12 months

The chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 restrictions will likely remain for 12 months after people begin to be vaccinated.

New case is in Saint John and travel-related, province also warns of possible exposure on 2 flights

New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell answered questions from the public, read out by Health Department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane on Wednesday. (Submitted by Government of New Brunswick)

Latest

  • Russell says vaccine administration will likely take 12 months
  • Restrictions will carry on long after start of rollout 
  • Saint John heading in right direction but still orange
  • New case in Saint John announced
  • Possible exposure on Air Canada flights

The chief medical officer of health says some COVID-19 restrictions will likely remain for 12 months after people begin to be vaccinated.

The province hosted a Facebook Live session Wednesday, where Dr. Jennifer Russell fielded questions from under a blanket, sipping from a disposable cup with her boots next to her chair.

She addressed some of the public's questions about the holiday season during the pandemic, and the difference a COVID-19 vaccine would have on New Brunswickers' lives.

Russell said inter-provincial and international travellers will continue to be required to self-isolate even after receiving the vaccine.

"If you hop off a plane from another country you've been vaccinated, you'll still have to self-isolate for 14 days," she said.

This includes travel between provinces that don't have bubble agreements. Currently, New Brunswick requires anyone crossing provincial or international borders to self-isolate for two weeks.

Russell said Wednesday that the Atlantic-bubble arrangement that waived that requirement for people from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador likely won't be reinstated anytime soon.

Restrictions will carry on long after start of rollout 

Russell said things will not go back to normal immediately after the vaccine is rolled out. She said some restrictions will remain, by her estimate, for about 12 months as everyone gets vaccinated.

New Brunswick is expected to see the first 1,950 doses administered before Christmas.

"It's probably going to be a good 12 months before all of the vaccines are rolled out," she said. "Things may change between now and then. This has been an evolving process. We will keep our eye on what's happening globally."

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, says people will likely be expected to follow public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety for 12 months after vaccine begins rolling out. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

Russell said there are seven different vaccines in different stages of development and rollout, all with different transportation, storage and delivery requirements.

"It's very complex to roll this out, with dribs and drabs of doses coming at intervals," she said. 

The first people to be vaccinated will be health care workers who look after COVID patients, and people who work in long-term care homes, and residents of those homes. 

In terms of current travel and close-contact public health guidelines, "we won't be making any recommendations to change anything around," for now, Russell said.

Saint John remains in orange for now

One of the first questions Russell answered Wednesday was whether the Saint John region will return to the yellow phase of recovery so people can extend their close-contact bubbles. She said the issue is still being studied and there are no changes to the recovery phase as of Wednesday.

Zone 2 will remain in orange, but things are "definitely trending in the right direction."

Russell on orange phase in Saint John, possible case spikes during holidays

CBC News New Brunswick

8 months ago
2:37
Public Health hosted a Facebook Live in which Dr. Jennifer Russell answered questions about COVID-19 in New Brunswick 2:37

The region has been at the more restrictive orange level of COVID-19 recovery for 19 days, since midnight Nov. 20.

During a COVID-19 briefing last Sunday, Russell said Public Health would conduct its next risk assessment of the region on Tuesday. 

New Saint John case announced Wednesday

New Brunswick has recorded one new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The new case is a person 30 to 39 years old and is in health Zone 2, the Saint John region. The case has been traced back to travel and the person is self-isolating, according to a provincial news release.

The active cases include 17 in the Fredericton region, 37 in the Saint John region, eight in the Edmundston region and nine in the Moncton region, and three in the Bathurst region.

New Brunswick has had 542 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March. Seven people have died and 461 people have recovered.

A total of 135,266 tests have been completed, including 748 done since the last report Tuesday. 

There are now 74 active cases in New Brunswick. Three people are in hospital and are all in the intensive care unit.

Potential public exposures on flights

Public Health added two flights to its list of possible exposures: 

  • Air Canada Flight 865 on Dec. 6 from London to Montreal arrived at 4:20 p.m.
  • Air Canada Flight 8792 on Dec. 6 from Montreal to Saint John arrived at 9:20 p.m.

Already on the list:

  • Air Canada Flight 8372 on Nov. 28 from Fort McMurray to Calgary, departed 6:10 a.m
  • Air Canada Flight 144 on Nov. 28  from Calgary to Toronto, departed at 11:15 a.m.
  • Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 28 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:30 p.m.

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.

  • Sore throat.

  • Runny nose.

  • Headache.

  • New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.

  • Difficulty breathing.

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.

  • Follow instructions.

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