New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 4 new cases of respiratory virus linked to long-term care facility

Public Health has announced four new cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton region, bringing the total number of active cases to 29.

Moncton-area case of COVID-19 announced Tuesday is a temporary foreign worker

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said there are four new cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton area. (Government of New Brunswick)

Latest

  • Zone 5 remains in orange phase
  • Temporary foreign worker brings COVID-19 to Moncton area
  • 151 total cases of COVID-19
  • Creating an Atlantic travel bubble
  • Health-care workers in border communities don't have to self-isolate
  • Math, literacy areas most affected by job shuffle in schools
  • What to do if you have symptoms

Public Health has announced four new cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton region, bringing the total number of active cases in New Brunswick to 29.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said the new cases are two people in their 80s and two people in their 50s.

Two of the individuals live at the Manoir de la Vallée, a long-term care home in Atholville in Restigouche County, and the other two are on staff there.

Twenty-one people connected to the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville have tested positive for COVID-19. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

Every resident inside the long-term care facility is self-isolating in their own room. But the new cases are not in the same wing where the virus first broke out. 

The New Brunswick government has asked public servants to volunteer to fill staffing gaps in the long-term care home, without any previous health-care training required.

Eight people have signed up so far.

When asked why family members aren't being asked to volunteer, Russell said she would take it up with her staff.

Zone 5 remains in orange phase

Russell devoted some of her remarks at a COVID briefing on Wednesday to trying to discourage prejudice against the people of the Campbellton region because of its cluster of cases.

"Today the people of Campbellton and the Restigouche region need us to be there for them because we could be that next community impacted by COVID-19," she said.

The Campbellton region, Zone 5, remains in the orange phase of the COVID-19 recovery plan, but the rest of the province is moving into another level of the yellow phase of recovery. (Government of New Brunswick)

All areas of New Brunswick except Zone 5 are in the yellow phase of the COVID-19 recovery plan, which is aimed at the gradual reopening of businesses and activities while working to prevent a resurgence of transmission.

Zone 5 remains at the orange stage of the plan.

Temporary foreign worker brings COVID-19 to Moncton area 

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said a new case of COVID-19 announced on Tuesday in the Moncton area involved a temporary foreign worker, who has been self-isolating since arriving in Canada.

The case is still being investigated by the Department of Health. 

Temporary foreign workers were banned from the province April 28 as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The move caused major criticism from farmers and fish-plant operators who rely on the workers.

The province allowed them back into the province at the end of May because there weren't enough New Brunswickers applying for the positions. 

Premier Blaine Higgs said he's hopeful a travel bubble will open up between Atlantic provinces by summer. (Goverment of New Brunswick)

"We have said, our economy needs to get moving. People need to get back in the workplace. We need to have a way to restore our society," said Premier Blaine Higgs during Wednesday's news briefing. 

Employers are required to have a COVID-19 operational plan in place, which assures workers arriving to New Brunswick have appropriate accommodations before and after self-isolation, proper food, access to health insurance, along with proper cleaning and disinfection of their work space. 

Temporary foreign workers are tested 10 days after their arrival into Canada. And the individual who tested positive will remain in isolation.

"The goal was never to have zero cases. The goal was always be able to contact trace, isolate, test and prevent further spread and further outbreaks and further transmission. And not overwhelm our healthcare system," Russell said.

Russell said there will be future cases because this is a global pandemic and there will be cases in other countries and provinces "for quite a while."

151 total cases of COVID-19

There have been 151 cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Since the virus arrived in the province in March. Of these,  121 people have recovered, including one related to the outbreak in the Campbellton region, where there has been a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

Twenty-one of the region's 28 active cases are in the Manoir de la Vallée, a long-term care facility home in Atholville. 

The four new cases include two people in their 50s and two in their 80s. (CBC News)

There has also been one death related to the respiratory virus this past month, a resident of the home.

Five patients are hospitalized and one is in intensive care.

As of Wednesday, 35,263 tests have been conducted.

Creating an Atlantic travel bubble 

Premier Blaine Higgs said he is still in discussions with the three other premiers from the Atlantic region about creating an Atlantic travel bubble with all four provinces. 

"It is still very much on the radar to look at this in early summer," he said. 

He said a date hasn't been set, but should come in the next few weeks.

"We want to be sure that we have stability here in our province."

P.E.I. and Newfoundland have no active cases of COVID-19. And Nova Scotia has five.

Health-care workers in border communities don't have to self-isolate 

Health-care workers who work on one side of the border, but live in New Brunswick are allowed to return to the province without self-isolating for 14 days. 

"That is an understanding with the Maritime provinces at this moment in time," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health.

Russell said WorkSafeNB is working with organizations and employers to make sure there is a plan around work isolation.

In certain situations, there is testing that is also done. 

Math, literacy areas most affected by job shuffle in schools

The province's decision to shuffle at least 70 jobs in anglophone schools will have the most impact on English and Math.

Twenty-eight people working at the district level in literacy and 28 working in numeracy — they're known as leads — will be moved to other jobs in the school system because more homeroom teachers are needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Meanwhile, six lead positions involved in PowerSchool, a student information database rolled out provincewide in 2014-2015, will also disappear. 

Educational leads will be moved to other positions in the school system because more homeroom teachers are needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  (iStock)

Tara Chislett, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, said these jobs were intended to be temporary positions designed to support implementation.

"All anglophone districts agreed this position was no longer needed and there were greater needs in other places within the system," she said in an email to CBC News Wednesday.

"The districts still employ technicians who provide all ongoing support related to this database."

On Wednesday, the Education Department released the breakdown of the lead positions being moved to teaching roles.

"With the current redeployment to schools there are still about 150 full-time equivalent subject lead positions within the districts."

Educational leads are trained teachers who work in schools to help other teachers develop curriculum and assist them with lessons.

Education Minister Dominic Cardy says school leads are being redeployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (CBC)

Earlier this week, the province also announced 10 respect and diversity leads will also be eliminated. They're responsible for coaching teachers and school teams about how to be more respectful and inclusive of marginalized students.

The latest cuts have been criticized by education advocates but Education Minister Dominic Cardy said the alternative could've meant not having enough teachers in New Brunswick schools in the fall. 

Once students return to school, smaller class sizes will be required, which will mean more teachers needed in schools. 

What to do if you have symptoms

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website at gnb.ca. 

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, new onset of muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with two of those symptoms are asked to:

  • 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

With files from Jordan Gill

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