New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 8 new cases, 2 are isolating outside the province

New Brunswick Public Health reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including two New Brunswickers who travelled and are isolating outside the province.

8 people in hospital, including 2 in intensive care

Of the eight new cases, four are contacts of previous cases, three are travel-related and one is under investigation, Public Health said. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

Latest

  • 140 active cases
  • Out-of-province COVID cases
  • Brazil variant travel-related
  • Hotel quarantine exemptions
  • Outbreak over at special care home
  • Tourism rebates not enough to help industry, says expert
  • Atlantic roundup
  • Some residents hesitant over AstraZeneca vaccine, others
  • Bloomfield border crossing closes
  • New exposure notifications
  • Previous exposure notifications
  • What to do if you have a symptom

New Brunswick Public Health reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including two New Brunswickers who travelled and are isolating outside the province.

There are now 140 active cases of the respiratory disease.

Eight people are in hospital, including two in an intensive care unit.

The new cases break down in this way:

Moncton region, Zone 1, three cases:

  • Two people 20 to 29
  • A person 30 to 39

All three cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Saint John region, Zone 2, one case:

  • A person 50 to 59.

This case is travel-related.

The eight new cases of COVID-19 announced on Friday put the total number of active cases at 140. (CBC)

Bathurst region, Zone 6, three cases:

  • Two people 50 to 59
  • A person 60 to 69

One case is travel-related, one is a contact of a previously confirmed case, and the other is under investigation.

Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case:

  • A person 50 to 59

This case is travel-related.

New Brunswick has had 1,988 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There have been 1,807 recoveries so far and 40 deaths.

A total of 302,136 tests have been conducted, including 1,520 on Thursday.

Out-of-province COVID cases

New Brunswick residents who are in another Canadian jurisdiction at the time of being diagnosed with COVID-19 are recorded in New Brunswick statistics, as long as they have a valid medicare card and a New Brunswick home address, Public Health said Friday.

These cases, including out-of-province hospitalizations, are counted in the health zones of their home communities, it said in a news release.

"This is the practice in most Canadian jurisdictions," according to the release.

Brazil variant travel-related

New Brunswick's first case of the COVID-19 variant first detected in Brazil is travel-related, Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane confirmed Friday.

The person is self-isolating, he said.

On Thursday, Public Health announced a previously reported case of COVID-19 in the Bathurst region, Zone 6, had been identified by the Moncton lab as the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil.

Macfarlane declined to confirm if the person was already self-isolating because of their travel when the COVID-19 test was done or if their isolation only began after the test came back positive, citing confidentiality.

The P.1 variant is thought to be at least twice as transmissible as the original coronavirus causing COVID-19.

Macfarlane also declined to say whether the person had been vaccinated.

Asked whether mass testing will be conducted in the Bathurst region, he said none is planned at this time, based on a review of the details of the case.

In an interview with CBC News last week, Memorial University immunologist and virologist Rodney Russell flagged the P.1 variant as particularly concerning in terms of vaccination efforts.

While existing vaccines "should be" effective against several variants, including the variant first identified in the U.K., Russell said the P.1 variant was a wild card.

Russell noted he has seen numbers that suggest 10 times the antibodies strength is needed to neutralize the virus with that variant. 

Hotel quarantine exemptions

The Department of Public Safety has released more information about the criteria non-essential travellers must meet in order to qualify for an exemption to the mandatory quarantine at a designated hotel.

Department spokesperson Geoffrey Downey said people are able to isolate at a location other than an isolation facility if:

  • They have access to a location that is used only by them and the people with whom they travelled.
  • No one else will be present for 14 days.
  • The location has an entrance not used by anyone else and it isn't within two metres of a similar entrance.
  • The location has its own "adequate and safe" bathroom, kitchen and sleeping quarters.
  • The location has capacity and is configured to allow no contact within two metres.
  • There is no shared circulating air or heating system between their space and any space occupied by others.
  • They have necessary support arrangements in place, such as sanitization, laundry, delivery of food, medications and essential goods.
  • They understand that a peace officer will follow up and will require access to the location.

"If you meet this criteria, a peace officer will visit you on Day 1 or Day 2 to ensure compliance," Downey said in an email. "If these conditions are not met, you will be required to isolate at an approved facility."

The Delta Fredericton is one of New Brunswick's designated self-isolation hotels. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

On April 23, the province announced all leisure travellers, business travellers, and people moving had to self-isolate at a hotel for at least seven days. The stay costs about $1,300 and is managed by the Canadian Red Cross.

But on May 2, following public outcry, the province said it was easing up on the rules, allowing some travellers to stay at a stand-alone private residence with government approval.

This will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Downey reiterated, without providing any other criteria that will be considered, other than their living arrangements.

Travellers with questions on whether they have a situation that may qualify should email TravelRegistration.EnregistrementVoyage@gnb.ca, he said.

People granted exemptions will still be required to have a COVID-19 test on Day 5 and Day 10 of your isolation, Downey noted. Appointments can be booked online.

As of May 4, there are 413 travellers isolating in hotels that are designated isolation facilities, said Downey.

Outbreak over at special care home

A COVID-19 outbreak at Murray Street Lodge, a special care home in Grand Bay-Westfield, in the Saint John region, Zone 2, has been declared over.

Staff and residents were retested several times to confirm the end of the outbreak, Public Health reported Friday.

The outbreak had been declared on April 21 after a positive case was confirmed at the home. 

Tourism rebates not enough to help industry, says expert

A program designed to keep New Brunswickers travelling in the province this summer isn't enough to help the tourism industry, the president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick says.

The province has initiated the Explore NB 2021 Travel Incentive Summer Program, to help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry. 

"Only having the New Brunswick traffic is just not going to be enough," said Carol Alderdice, "Especially after a summer like last year."

The government hasn't released any further information about this summer's travel incentive program.

"We are monitoring COVID-19 case numbers and the details of the program will be shared when we are in a position to do so," Department of Tourism spokesperson Morgan Bell said in an emailed statement.

"This program has supported many tourism operators throughout the province by encouraging  New Brunswickers to safely explore their province," Bell added.

Mulholland Lighthouse, by the bridge between Campobello Island and the United States. (Submitted by Holly Waltz)

Last year, the province had brought in more than $17 million in claims  — more than expected when the program was launched in July.

There was also an incentive program for New Brunswick staycationers over the winter months.

But Alderdice said the summer program isn't enough to sustain businesses and that every region reported 50 to 100 per cent less revenue last year.

"You can't continue a business like that two years in a row," she said. "It's just impossible."

The Atlantic bubble was supposed to open April 19, but that date was later pushed back to May 3. Premier Blaine Higgs has said he's still hopes the bubble will reopen sometime this summer.

The delay in the Atlantic bubble, which opened in July last summer but closed when cases began to mount again, will make it more challenging for tourism operators, Alderdice said. 

Grand Manan is typically a busy tourist spot for visitors across Atlantic Canada. (Eyeforthis/Instagram)

But she's hopeful COVID-19 wage subsidy programs will continue until the end of the year to help tourism operators survive another year. 

The recent federal budget extended wage subsidies to Sept. 25, with plans to start gradually reducing support payments beginning in July. However, subsidies could be further extended to Nov. 20 if pandemic conditions demand it.

Tourism across Atlantic Canada generates about $5 billion in revenue each year, according to Lisa Dahr, director of industry relations with the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia.

Alderdice said even a partial Atlantic bubble would help tourism operators.

"Tourism needs people moving around and that's just not happening right now," she said.

The tourism department is "taking advantage of this time" to work with the tourism industry to prepare for "when things return to normal," said Bell.

"We are providing partnership opportunities to improve their online presence, sharing our research so they can better understand their guests and make decisions about how they could improve or change their product offering and also reach them through the best marketing channels."

Atlantic roundup

Nova Scotia announced 227 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, as well as the death of a woman in her 70s, bringing the province's overall toll to 70. Nova Scotia now has 1,464 active cases.

Also on Friday, Nova Scotia cracked down further on who can enter the province and what people can and cannot do within its borders. 

Newfoundland and Labrador has seven new COVID-19 cases, and there are 63 active cases in the province.

Prince Edward Island announced one new case, putting its total active cases at 10.

Pharmacist sees reluctance about AstraZeneca, but not other vaccines

While most people are relieved to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a New Brunswick pharmacist says that's not always the case.

Greg MacFarlane, owner of Ryan's Pharmacy in Nackawic and co-owner of the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Fredericton, said there are people who have expressed concerns about the AstaZeneca vaccine.

He and his team receive a lot of questions around the AstraZeneca vaccine, but he said they assure those with concerns that the risk is low.

"There are people who will take Astra and there are people who are dead against taking it," he said. "If they don't want to take Astra, they simply have to wait."

MacFarlane pointed to England, which primarily used AstraZeneca vaccines. He said life is getting back to normal a lot faster there.

He said the supply for vaccines in New Brunswick has also been improving since the rollout started.

"Most people are extremely happy just to get a vaccine. It's very fulfilling when we are actually administering the vaccine and see their relief," MacFarlane said.

Earlier this week, the province announced that a New Brunswick resident died after developing blood clots after getting a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The resident, who was in their 60s, was the first to die in the province from a vaccine-related cause, and this was the second serious case of adverse effects from the vaccine, according to Public Health.

"There's always been a bit of a question around Astra, but in general the rollout's going excellent," MacFarlane said.

Bloomfield border crossing closes

The Canada Border Services Agency has announced the temporary suspension of service at the Bloomfield port of entry on the Canada-United States border, effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m. 

The change at the border crossing about 20 kilometres west of Hartland is the result of low traffic volumes linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said in a news release Friday.

During the 2020-21 fiscal year, the Bloomfield port of entry processed only 69 travellers — a 96 per cent decrease compared to the year before, it said.

Travellers seeking entry to Canada must now use an alternate port of entry, such as the Centreville border crossing, which is approximately 17 km north of Bloomfield and open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., or the Woodstock Road border crossing, which is about 32 km south of Bloomfield and open 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

The Canada Border Services plans to resume operations at the Bloomfield port of entry on Oct. 1.

Bloomfield has been operating Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

New exposure notifications

Public Health has identified new possible exposures to the coronavirus in Saint John and Moncton.

People who have been in a public exposure location can be tested, even if they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or by calling Tele-Care 811.

Saint John:

  • Irving Big Stop, 783 Fairville Blvd., on May 2 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Moncton:

  • Tim Hortons, 85 Harrisville Blvd., on May 3, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Previous exposure notifications

Fredericton:

  • Monday, April 26 to Sunday, May 2 – Delta Fredericton (225 Woodstock Rd.)

Moncton:

  • Monday, May 3, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Costco Wholesale (140 Granite Dr.)

Flight exposures:

  • April 25 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 1:07 a.m.
  • April 25 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:29 a.m.
  • April 28 - Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 12:03 p.m.
  • April 28 - Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:08 p.m. 
  • April 30 - Air Canada Flight 170 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 1:56 p.m.
  • April 30 - Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:56 p.m.

Public Health is now offering COVID-19 testing for all New Brunswickers who have been in a public exposure area, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre. 

Other possible exposures

Moncton region:

  • April 29 between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Papa John's Pizza (555 Dieppe Blvd., Dieppe)
  • April 29 between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (320 Elmwood Dr., Moncton)

Saint John region:

  • April 28 between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (195 King St., St. Stephen)
  • April 26 between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Save Easy (232 Water St., Saint Andrews)
  • April 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Birch Grove Restaurant (34 Brunswick St., St. George)
  • April 20 between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Dr. Michael Murphy's Office (6 Queen St. W., St. Stephen)

Fredericton region:

  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and April 22 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Winners (9 Riocan Ave.) 
  • April 23 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – Pizza Hut  (1180 Smythe St., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Petsmart (1124 Prospect St., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Charm Diamond Centres (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – La Senza (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 10:30 a.m. and noon – Costco (25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton) 
  • April 23 and April 22 – Radisson Kingswood Hotel & Suites (41 Kingswood Way, Hanwell)
  • April 22 between 2 and 3 p.m., Habitat for Humanity Restore (800 St. Mary St., Fredericton)
  • April 22 between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. – Unplugged (418 Queen St., Fredericton) 
  • April 22 between 1 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Bed Bath & Beyond (15 Trinity Ave., Fredericton)
  • April 21 between 5:30 and 8 p.m. – Jungle Jim's (1168 Smythe St., Fredericton)
  • April 21 between 1 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – Old Navy (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
  • April 21 between 12 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – Chapters (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
  • April 21 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Moffitts Convenience (1879 Rte. 3, Harvey Station)
  • April 22 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. – The Snooty Fox (66 Regent St., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and April 22 between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – HomeSense, (18 Trinity Dr., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. – Save Easy Independent Grocer (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
  • April 23 – Canada Post (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic) 
  • April 22 and April 23 – Jolly Farmer (56 Crabbe Rd., Northampton)
  • April 24 between 10 a.m. and noon – YMCA (570 York St., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Walmart Supercentre (1399 Regent St, Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Princess Auto (21 Trinity Ave., Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Home Depot (Corbett Centre, Fredericton)
  • April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Swiss Chalet (961 Prospect Ave., Fredericton)
  • April 22 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Canadian Tire (1110 Smythe Ave., Fredericton)
  • April 22 between 10 a.m. and noon. – Digital World (524 Smythe Ave., Fredericton)
  • April 22 between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – Tim Horton's (1713 Woodstock Rd., Fredericton) 
  • April 22 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – Costco (25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton) 
  • From April 19 to April 22 – Canada Post (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic) 
  • April 21 between noon and 4 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (1040 Prospect St., Fredericton)

Edmundston region:

  • May 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., April 30 between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 27 between noon and 12:30 p.m. – Legresley Esso (15 Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
  • May 1 between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Rossy (344 Canada Rd. Unit K, Saint-Quentin)
  • May 1 between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. - Ameublement Milix (344 Canada Rd., Saint-Quentin)
  • May 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – Boutique du Dollar 12345 (116A Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
  • April 29 between 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. – Familiprix (116A Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
  • May 1 between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., April 29 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., April 28 between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – Bonichoix (4 Camille Rd., Kedgwick)
  • April 28 between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Irving (272 Canada Rd., Saint-Quentin)
  • April 25 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – St. Patrick Church (2154, Rte. 130, Grand Falls)
  • April 27 between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., April 28 between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., April 26 between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. – Hill Top Motel & Restaurant (131 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
  • April 28 between 5 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. – Irving Big Stop (121 Route 255, Grand Falls)
  • April 27 between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and on April 26 between 3 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. – Walmart, (494 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
  • April 27 between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. – Grand Falls General Hospital
  • April 26 between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. – Blue's Printing Shop, (182 Portage St., Grand Falls)
  • April 26 between noon and 12:15 p.m. – St-Onge Industrial Supplies (Belanger St., Grand Falls)
  • April 26 between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – Canadian Tire (383 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
  • April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and April 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (240 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
  • April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Foodland Grand Falls (535 Everard H. Daigle, Grand Falls)
  • April 26 between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and April 25 between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. – Toner Home Hardware (445 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls)
  • April 26 between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. – Merritt Press (208 Main St., Grand Falls)

Flight exposures:

  • April 28 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 1:05 a.m.
  • April 29 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:24 a.m.
  • April 24 - Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 9:04 p.m.
  • April 22 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 12:52 a.m.
  • April 22 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:27 a.m.
  • April 20 - Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11:45 a.m.
  • April 20 - Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:01 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:

  • Fever above 38 C.

  • 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.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton and Aidan Cox

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