New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 26 new cases Monday, 20 cases linked to poultry plant

Public Health reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 and 304 active cases in the province on Monday.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League postpones games, Tuesday an at-home learning day for Moncton-area schools

School superintendent Zoe Watson in Anglophone South said if parents weren’t contacted directly that it was safe to send their children to school. (Google Maps)

Latest

  • Second Quispamsis school confirms case
  • 26 new cases Monday, 304 active cases
  • 2,567 people fully vaccinated
  • Quebec Major Junior Hockey League postpones regular season games
  • 20 cases linked to Nadeau Ferme Avicole abattoir
  • New public exposure warnings issued

Public Health reported 26 new cases of COVID-19, affecting five zones, on Monday and 304 active cases across the province.

The department did not hold a public update, but the new cases break down as follows:

Moncton region, Zone 1, seven cases: 

  • three people 30-39 
  • three people 40-49 
  • an individual 60-69 

Saint John region, Zone 2, nine cases:

  • three people 19 or under
  • two people 20-29 
  • two people 30-39 
  • two people 60-69

Fredericton region, Zone 3, seven cases:

  • two people 19 or under 
  • two people 30-39 
  • two people 40-49 
  • an individual 60-69 

Edmundston region, Zone 4, two cases:

  • an individual 20-29; and
  • an individual 60-69.

Bathurst region, Zone 6, one case:

  • an individual 50-59.

All of these people are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.

One person is in hospital, and 174,195 tests have been conducted, including 1,487 since Sunday's report.

As of Monday, Public Health has received 11,175 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and administered 7,732 doses, with 3,443 held for the second of two required doses.

A total of 2,567 New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated so far.

In a news release Monday afternoon, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, warned that although New Brunswick cannot shut COVID-19 out completely, "we must do everything we can to prevent it from spreading within our province."

"We have kept the avalanche of cases out of New Brunswick so far. We must act now to keep this virus from doing even more damage than we are already seeing, especially with transmission now in workplaces."

There are currently 304 active cases in New Brunswick. This graphic does not reflect a person with COVID-19 whose death was not related to the disease. (CBC News)

20 cases linked to Nadeau poultry plant

The Nadeau Ferme Avicole slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska has closed its plant until at least Friday because of a COVID-19 outbreak, director Yves Landry said Monday.

New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell confirmed that at least 20 cases are linked to the abattoir outbreak, according to Radio-Canada.

Landry said he is aware of 16 confirmed cases at the plant, and the other four cases are connected to those individuals. 

Most workers at Nadeau Ferme Avicole come from the Edmundston and Clair region in New Brunswick, with about 25 workers coming from Quebec and two from Maine, Landry said.

The plant is minutes from the New Brunswick-Maine border.

A first mass screening at the plant was carried out on Friday and another clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, Landry said.

The closure will make it possible to carry out a thorough cleaning of the installations and to complete the search for close contacts. 

Landry said poultry destined for the slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska will be redistributed in other slaughterhouses, including that of Sunnymel in Clair, but also in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

In December, the two New Brunswick slaughterhouses processed chicken following the closure of a plant in Nova Scotia battling a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Nadeau Poultry has closed its plant until at least Friday following an outbreak. Public Health said Monday 20 cases are linked to the plant. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada)

Quebec league postpones regular season games

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced the postponement of regular season games on Monday, a decision it says it made after meetings with government and public health officials of the three provinces of the Maritimes Division.

"The league will continue its constructive dialogue with the three provinces to resume playing as soon as possible," it said in a news release Monday, adding that an updated schedule would be published by the end of the week.
 
Postponed games for New Brunswick teams are as follows:

  • Halifax at Moncton, Jan. 22, 7 p.m.
  • Acadie-Bathurst at Saint John, Jan. 22, 7 p.m.
  • Acadie-Bathurst at Halifax, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.
  • Moncton at Saint John, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.

Tracking active cases by zones

The following chart shows the active case rates and total case rates for each of the province's seven zones, based on population numbers provided by the Department of Health and on current case counts. 

 Region  Population   Active cases   Active case rate*   Cases to date   Rate of cases to date*
 Moncton  222,694         69            31         239               107.3
 Saint John  176,280         62            35.2         200               113.5
 Fredericton  183,421         59            32.2         215                117.2
 Edmundston     48,254         76          157.5         115                238.3
 Campbellton     25,199         30          119.1         176                698.4
 Bathurst    78,858           8            10.1           22                  27.9
 Miramichi    42,121           0               0             6                  14.2

*per 100,000 population

At-home learning day for Moncton schools on Tuesday

Tuesday will be an at-home learning day for students at Edith Cavell, T.E.S.S (Therapeutic Education Support Site) and Caledonia Regional High School students, the Anglophone East School District announced in a tweet Monday evening.

Earlier Tuesday, the Anglophone South School District reported a case of COVID-19 at a school in Quispamsis.

In an email to parents, superintendent Zoe Watson said a case has been confirmed at Quispamsis Middle School.

Watson said the district is working with Public Health to contact students who may have come in contact with the infected individual.

She said if parents weren't contacted directly, it is safe to send their children to school.

On Thursday, a case was reported at Kennebecasis Valley High School, which is also in Quispamsis.

Four other schools in the province confirmed COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

This includes two more schools in the Anglophone South School District, Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield and Millidgeville North School in Saint John.

Two schools in the Anglophone East School District have also announced confirmed cases: Riverview East School and Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough.

When will Air Canada service return? It's complicated

A former executive says it may be a while before Air Canada service resumes at the Fredericton airport.

Last week, the airline announced service to Fredericton would be temporarily suspended starting this week

Duncan Dee, former chief operating officer of Air Canada, said Monday that with travel restrictions put in place by the federal government, vaccine delays and several health zones in the province either returning to red or on the cusp of it, flying into New Brunswick isn't an easy sell.

"The situation is certainly far from ideal for a return to air service into Fredericton," Dee said on Information Morning Fredericton.

Even if the pandemic were to end tomorrow, Dee said, service wouldn't be able to start up again immediately.

"Aircraft that have been sitting around and not flying, not being operated for some time, have to undergo maintenance and safety checks before they can return to service and that takes time," he said.

As well, he said, pilots who are not flying a minimum number of takeoffs and landings a month have to undergo training to get back to service, and airport staff may have had their security clearances expire while they were off work.

"Those have to be renewed," Dee said.

Currently, the only airport in the province seeing any Air Canada flights is the Moncton airport.

Dee said the airline will probably evaluate a return to Saint John and Fredericton based on how well flights in Moncton do.

"If they look at the situation and see that they're able to serve the New Brunswick market through just the one airport in Moncton, then they're going to have to seriously consider whether or not it's worth the expense of opening up service in Saint John and Fredericton again," said Dee.

COVID-19 numbers increase over weekend

Public Health reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a single-day record of 36 cases on Sunday.

Thirty-one cases were recorded in Zone 4, the Edmundston region, with 11 of them linked to an outbreak at Nadeau Poultry in Saint-François de Madawaska.

The increase forced the province to move Zone 4 back to the red phase, with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell warning that more regions could be moved back as well if the record trend doesn't reverse.

"We're at the maximum of what we can deal with in the short term," she said at a media briefing on Sunday.

As of Sunday, there were 292 active cases in the province with one person in hospital.

Saint Johner in China says it's mostly back to normal

A Saint Johner living in China says life has basically returned to normal in the world's most populous country and the first to report cases of COVID-19 more than a year ago.

"Aside from everybody still wearing masks, which is mostly voluntary at this point," said Samantha Kim Dean, who lives in Chongqing, about 1,100 kilometres northwest of Hong Kong.

COVID-19 was first detected in China in late 2019. This eventually led to a national lockdown that lasted months.

Things have changed a lot since then,

"Everything's open," Dean said. "All the kids are back to school, they've been back for a while. Movie theatres are open. Restaurants are in full swing. So we're pretty much back to normal where I am."

Samantha Kim Dean is from Martinon, but is now living in China. 6:29

That's not to say the virus is gone in China.

There have been several smaller outbreaks of COVID-19 recently in the northeast of the country and China's National Health Commission said Friday that 1,001 people were being treated for COVID-19.

Part of China's success with tackling the coronavirus may be related to its totalitarian form of government, which can quickly and forcefully react to the disease.

"They're pretty quick with cracking down on it," said Dean. 

"The contact tracing is extremely fast and everybody gets free testing done. So, yeah, they're pretty fast at containing any small breakouts that happen."

Dean said the Communist country has higher rates of compliance with government orders but also has a more collective mindset.

"Overall, it was this, sort of, you know, 'we're in this together. If we all do what we're supposed to do now, then we'll be free soon,' which is kind of what happens," said Dean.

She said if she could give one piece of advice to New Brunswickers it would be to wear masks.

"I know it's a huge nuisance and some people don't think it works," Dean said. "And there's a bunch of debates within, you know, different communities online and things like that. But it seems to work. And if we find out in 10 years that it didn't work, then, you know, that's not a huge inconvenience to wear it."

New public exposure warnings issued

Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flights:

  • Dec. 31 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 11:23 a.m.
  • Jan. 3 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:23 a.m.

Public Health has also issued the following potential COVID-19 exposure warnings:

Moncton region:

  • Moncton North After Hours Medical Clinic, 1633 Mountain Rd., on Jan. 14 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Edmundston region:

  • Jean Coutu Kim Levesque-Cote Pharmacy, 276 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Parts for Trucks, 21 Powers Rd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 11, 12 and 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 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.

With files from Information Morning Saint John, Radio-Canada, Jordan Gill and Marie Sutherland

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