New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 6 new cases reported Wednesday, teachers 'stressed, anxious'

Teachers are feeling stressed and anxious throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Union says.

There are now 119 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick

Education Minister Dominic Cardy said he has heard from 'a lot' of teachers, who said late November felt like June because of the pandemic and they're looking forward to their Christmas break to be able to recharge. (Government of New Brunswick )

Latest

  • Six new cases reported on Wednesday
  • New potential exposure notices for flights
  • 260 people respond to Horizon callout for staffing help
  • Shannex says latest test results are negative
  • 100 international students feel isolated in Moncton
  • Potential public exposure warnings for Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton
  • What to do if you have a symptom

Public Health reported six new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Wednesday, including one in Edmundston (Zone 4), which has had few cases throughout the pandemic, and two in Bathurst.

Here is the breakdown:

  • one person 50 to 59 in the Moncton region (Zone 1)
  • one person 19 and under in the Saint John region (Zone 2)
  • one person 19 and under in the Fredericton region (Zone 3)
  • one person 40 to 49 in the Edmundston region (Zone 4)
  • one person 50 to 59 in the Bathurst region (Zone 6)
  • one person 60 to 69 in the Bathurst region (Zone 6)

All are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 514 and 388 people have recovered. There have been seven deaths, and the number of active cases is 119, with none in the hospital.

As of today, 127,999 tests have been conducted, with 1,321 tests conducted since this time on Tuesday.

Teachers feeling 'stressed,' concerned about students

Teachers are feeling stressed and anxious throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Union says.

Rick Cuming said teachers are also expressing concern for their students, colleagues and their own family members. 

"They're experiencing less preparation time," he said."They're experiencing more supervision to keep kids safe."

He said teachers have been forced to supervise kids over recess and lunch, just to make sure no one is talking while their masks are off.

Some teachers are even struggling to get someone to cover their class so they can go to the washroom.

What this year is about, is survival.- Rick Cuming, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Union

"They really don't have any downtime whatsoever."

And now, teachers are setting their sights on Christmas vacation at the end of the month.

"They're sort of pushing through to get there."

Some students aren't even showing up to class due to the province's recent decision to roll back certain regions to the orange phase.

"That is the best place for students to get their social needs, their mental health, their overall well-being met," he said. "That's the best place for teaching to occur."

During Tuesday's news briefing, Education Minister Dominic Cardy said New Brunswick students and teachers could get an extended holiday because of the pandemic.

Rick Cuming, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Union, says teachers feel overworked and underprepared for classes because they are too busy protecting students against COVID-19. (CBC News file photo)

"It is one of the measures that we are considering right now to see if it would allow us to reduce stress for the school staff and also students and their parents," Cardy said.

"But it is only one element on a long list of things considered every day," he said.

The Christmas break is currently scheduled for Dec. 18 until Jan. 3.

Cuming said he wasn't surprised by the announcement, as this has been happening in different jurisdictions across the country.

"What this year is about, is survival," he said.

Horizon Health Network's callout for retirees and students to help with an 'urgent' staffing need at Saint John Regional Hospital and assessment sites has had 260 respondents so far. (Wikipedia)

Hundreds answer Horizon callout for staffing help

Horizon Health Network says it has received hundreds of applications in response to a callout last week for retirees and students to bolster its staffing.

In a Nov. 26 tweet, the health network said it was asking retirees, students and the community "to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak should the need arise."

In an email, chief human resources director Maura McKinnon said Horizon has identified "an urgent need for staffing" at the Saint John Regional Hospital, as well as at assessment centres in Saint John and Fredericton.

As of Wednesday, 260 people had put their hand up to help, and offer letters have been sent out to 37 people so far.

Students and retired health-care professionals have been stepping up to assist since the early stages of our pandemic response, McKinnon said, noting "we have had retired physicians, clinicians and … other retirees" helping out in a variety of roles. 

New hires are now coming onboard daily.

They're given mandatory e-learning and additional onsite orientation, and then will help fill a variety of roles, depending on their background experience, including: registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists, personal care attendants, medical laboratory assistants, environmental services and administrative staff and pandemic screeners.

"Not all of our staffing needs require direct patient contact," McKinnon said. "We place them only in settings or environments where they are comfortable working, and within the scope of their professional expertise or applicable licence."

Shannex says latest test results are negative

Shannex says it has received the results for tests done on Monday at Howe Hall and Millidge Hall, which are part of its Parkland Saint John campus, and is "pleased to report that all results were returned negative."

Shannex Parkland has a total of 15 confirmed cases: 10 residents and four employees at Tucker Hall and one employee at Carleton Hall. Residents who tested positive are being cared for in a special area located on Simms Court, Shannex said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday.

Results for testing conducted at Tucker Hall on Tuesday are expected within 24 hours. 

100 international students feel isolated in Moncton

Students and administrators at the University of Moncton say they think adequate measures are in place to limit the spread of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.

Three positive cases were confirmed there on Monday.

Students federation president Alexandre Arseneau said there's been adequate information and limited activity on campus, but he'd like to see more resources put into mental health supports, especially for the approximately 100 international students who are essentially trapped in residence.

Three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the University of Moncton. (CBC)

"If we want to prevent outbreaks, we need to make sure that these people don't feel the need to not follow the restrictions," Arseneau said.

"We need to make sure these students have all the help and everything they need."

University president and vice-chancellor Denis Prud'homme said online medical and mental health services are available to students.

Prud'homme said a survey was done at mid-term to see what was going well and what needed improvement.

He said the university administration is asking professors to help identify and refer students in need.

"We asked the profs to be aware a little bit more this year because students are not in class, but to make sure they remind the students if they have any problems to make them known so they could recommend them to the services that are available for them."

Arseneau said it's turning out to be a difficult and disappointing academic year.

"We've seen our tuition go up 16 per cent just during the global pandemic. And the quality of the education online often doesn't respect the norms."

University president and vice-chancellor Denis Prud'homme said online medical and mental health services are available to students. (Submitted by the University of Moncton)

Prud'homme defended the value of education being delivered as "fair" and "good."

"We believe that we provide the best quality in the situation of this crisis, just like every university," he said.

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 'Superspreader' event responsible for 80% of Saint John cases

  • He added that it would likely improve as professors get used to remote learning technology.

The school is not currently considering offering any kind of rebate, he said, but it will try to keep fee increases for next year to a minimum, as it tries to deal with a $10 million deficit.

Case numbers for New Brunswick as of Wednesday, Dec. 2. (CBC News)

Potential public exposure warnings for Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton

New potential exposure warning for flight into Moncton

New Brunswick Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Nov. 28 while on the following flights:

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

Public Health has also warned of the following possible exposures to the virus in the Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton areas, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.

Saint John area

  • Cask and Kettle on Nov. 17, at 112 Prince William St., between 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m., Saint John.
  • Churchill's Pub on Nov. 20, at 8 Grannan St., between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., Saint John.
  • Picaroons on Nov. 21, at 30 Canterbury St., between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saint John.
  • Thandi's Restaurant on Nov. 21 between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. 33 Canterbury St., Saint John
  • Vito's Restaurant on Nov. 16, 111 Hampton Rd., Rothesay, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. 
  • Cora Breakfast and Lunch on Nov. 16 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., 39 King St., Saint John
  • Goodlife Fitness McAllister Place on Nov. 16 between noon and 1 p.m. and on Nov. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., 519 Westmorland Rd., , Saint John.
  • NBCC Grandview campus on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., 950 Grandview Ave., Saint John.
  • Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., 47 Clark Rd., Rothesay
  • Big Tide Brewing Company at 47 Princess St. on Nov. 16, between 12:30 to 2 p.m., Saint John.
  • Java Moose at 84 Prince William St. Nov. 16, between 2 to 2:30 p.m., Saint John.

Flights into Saint John:

Public Health identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 while on the following flights:

  • Air Canada Flight 8421 on Nov. 17 and 18 from Kelowna to Vancouver, arrived at 8 p.m.
     
  • Air Canada Flight 314 on Nov. 17 and 18 from Vancouver to Montreal, arrived at 07:11 a.m.
     
  • Air Canada Flight 8792 on Nov. 17 and 18, from Montreal to Saint John arrived at 9:22 p.m.

Moncton 

  • RD Maclean Co. Ltd. on Nov. 16, 17 and 18 at 200 St. George St., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  
  • GoodLife Fitness on Nov. 21 at 555 Dieppe Blvd, Dieppe, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  
  • Keg Steakhouse and Bar at 576 Main St. on Nov. 17, between 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Flights into Moncton:

  • Air Canada Flight 178 on Nov. 19 from Edmonton to Toronto, arrived at 5:58 a.m.
     
  • Air Canada Flight 404 on Nov. 19 from Toronto to Montreal, arrived at 10:16 a.m.
     
  • Air Canada Flight 8902 on Nov. 19 from Montreal to Moncton, arrived at 4:17 p.m.

Fredericton area

  • The Snooty Fox on Nov. 18 and 19, 66 Regent St., between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. ​​​​​​
  • GoodLife Fitness Fredericton on Nov. 18 at 1174 Prospect St. between 10:20 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. Nov. 19 between 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
  • The YMCA of Fredericton on Nov. 17 at 570 York St. throughout the evening. 

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

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