New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 11 new cases, entire province back to yellow

New Brunswick Public Health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — more than half of them residents who are self-isolating outside New Brunswick, and the entire province is back at the yellow COVID alert level for the first time since mid-March.

Vaccines now available for people 40+

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, addressed reporters Monday afternoon. (Government of New Brunswick )

Latest

  • Vaccine appointments available today
  • Province won't say if 5 COVID victims were vaccinated
  • Concerns about Moncton region, Zone 1
  • Vaccines now available for people 40+
  • Positive cases at Hampton school, daycare
  • Update on case at Kennebecasis Valley High School
  • Graduation ceremony guidelines
  • New exposure notifications
  • Previous exposure notifications

New Brunswick Public Health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — more than half of them residents who are self-isolating outside New Brunswick, and the entire province is back at the yellow COVID alert level for the first time since mid-March.

The part of the Edmundston region, Zone 4, which has been at the more restrictive orange level, will move to yellow at midnight, said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell.

She thanked residents of Edmundston and the Upper Madawaska region, Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls for their co-operation in abiding by the Public Health measures.

"Your patience and perseverance have enabled us to slow the spread of the virus and bring this outbreak under control," Russell said during Monday's live COVID briefing.

While the risk of further infection still exists, the number of active cases and hospitalizations has declined and there have been no new cases of community transmission, which is "very, very good news," she said.

For all but a two-week period in March, all or part of Zone 4 has been at the orange or red alert level since late December.

"I am so very, very proud of all the hard work that people are doing and have done."

The pandemic is still "far from over," said Russell, warning there will likely be further outbreaks in the months ahead.

She is particularly concerned about the situation in the Moncton region, Zone 1, she said. Public Health has traced two chains of transmission, but hasn't been able to find the origin case.

"It means that there is a potential for community transmission," she said, noting one one of the highly contagious variants is involved and and there are public exposures associated with the cases.

But with the progress the province is making with its vaccine rollout, any outbreaks should be smaller and "have fewer negative outcomes," Russell said, based on the experience in the United Kingdom and Israel.

We will still continue to see transmission of COVID-19 even after everybody has two doses. But hopefully the outcomes will be not severe in terms of not requiring hospitalization, not requiring ICU admission and not passing away.- Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health

Most eligible New Brunswickers should be fully vaccinated with two doses by September. Until then, people must remain vigilant about physical distancing, wearing a mask, handwashing and other measures, she said.

"Getting your first dose of the vaccine does not enable you to throw aside your mask and go out and party with your friends."

The vaccine takes at least two or three weeks to "really kick in," and the "maximum benefit" is reached only two to three weeks after receiving the second dose, Russell stressed.

"We will still continue to see transmission of COVID-19 even after everybody has two doses. But hopefully the outcomes will be not severe in terms of not requiring hospitalization, not requiring ICU admission and not passing away."

Of the 11 new cases announced, Russell said only five are in the province.

New Brunswickers who have contracted the coronavirus elsewhere in Canada and who are in self-isolation or hospitalized outside of the province are counted among New Brunswick's case numbers.

Russell acknowledged this may be confusing.

"We have changed our reporting because these out-of-province cases now make up a larger share of our total case count than they have done in the past, and these cases have also impacted areas that have otherwise had very few recent cases," she said.

The section of Zone 4 that is currently in the orange COVID-19 alert level, including Edmundston and the Upper Madawaska region, Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls, will join the rest of the province at the less restrictive yellow level at midnight. (CBC)

Just in the past two weeks, 33 New Brunswickers have contracted COVID-19 outside the province. 

Twenty-seven per cent of the 155 new COVID-19 infections reported during that two-week period involved workers who travel regularly outside New Brunswick.

Public Health has also connected a recent case to the outbreak in Nova Scotia.

The province is looking into how it can "better reflect the real picture in New Brunswick" on its COVID dashboard, Russell said.

The breakdown of new cases is as follows:

Moncton region, Zone 1, three cases:

  • A person 19 or under.
  • A person 20-29.
  • A person 40-49.

Two cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and one is an out-of-province travel case.

Saint John region, Zone 2, one case:

  • A person 19 or under.

This case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

Fredericton region, Zone 3, one case:

  • A person 50-59.

This is an out-of-province travel case.

Edmundston region, Zone 4, one case:

  • A person 19 or under.

This case is under investigation.

Campbellton region, Zone 5, one case:

  • A person 20-29.

This case is travel-related.

Bathurst region, Zone 6, three cases:

  • A person 50-59.
  • Two people 60-69.

All three cases are out-of-province travel cases.

Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case:

  • A person 30-39.

This is an out-of-province travel case.

Seven people are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit. Four people are hospitalized out of province.

There are now 149 active cases of the respiratory disease.

New Brunswick has had 2,013 confirmed cases of COVID since the pandemic started. There have been 1,822 recoveries so far and 41 COVID-related deaths.

A total of 305,433 COVID tests have been conducted, including 946 on Sunday.

Vaccines now available for people 40+

New Brunswickers ages 40 to 49 are now eligible to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, announced Monday afternoon.

The expanded eligibility comes just six days after the province added people 50 and older and anyone 16 or older with at least two chronic conditions.

Asked whether those groups have already been vaccinated, Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said: "What I can tell you is we're receiving vaccines over the coming days and weeks, lots of vaccines, and we are getting needles in arms as fast as we can and we think we can do it, and that's why we're opening up the availability today."

The province is scheduled to receive about 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 21,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine around May 17, said Russell.

Horizon has appointments available for those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Saint John and Fredericton on Monday. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

People born in 1981 or before may now schedule an appointment online through the Horizon or Vitalité health networks or by contacting a participating pharmacy.

If an eligible individual, or a caregiver or family member acting on their behalf, is unable to book an appointment online, they can call 1-833-437-1424.

Walk-in appointments are not available. Anyone who cannot attend an appointment because they've been directed to self-isolate is asked to reschedule.

As of Monday, 278,811 New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of a vaccine, said Education Minister Dominic Cardy.

That's 40.2 per cent of the eligible population, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.

Follow Public Health guidance even after getting vaccinated, says Dr. Russell

2 years ago
Duration 1:15
Dr. Jennifer Russell says people who haven't been vaccinated as well as those who have must remain vigilant and wear masks.

Although that's lower than last week and may seem as though there's been a reduction in New Brunswick's vaccination rate, it's because the province previously only included people aged 16 and over, said Russell.

Children aged 12 to 15 who have a complex medical condition or two or more chronic conditions became eligible last week, following Health Canada's approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 12 and older, she said.

All 12 to 15-year-olds are expected to become eligible for vaccination later this spring, at the same time as all those under the age of 19.

So the number of eligible New Brunswickers has grown by about 30,000 to more than 693,000, said Russell. The dashboard has been updated to reflect that.

For the vaccination of children under 16, a parent or guardian must schedule an appointment and provide consent.

Vaccine appointments available today

The Horizon Health Network has vaccine appointments available today in Saint John and Fredericton for those who are eligible to receive one. 

Vaccinations are by appointment only and can be booked online.

There is "major availability" at the Saint John clinic at Exhibition Park, said Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane.

"We encourage anybody [who's eligible] to go online and sign up and register for a vaccine," he said.

Visit Horizon's website to learn more about its vaccination clinics.

Province won't say if 5 COVID victims were vaccinated

The province's chief medical officer of health won't say whether the five residents who died in the past week in a COVID-19 outbreak at a special care home in Grand Falls, in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, were vaccinated.

"We're trying to be respectful of confidentiality, that is when we try to not overshare," Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters on Monday.

Pavillon Beau-Lieu recorded its fifth COVID-related death on Saturday, a person in their 90s. The outbreak involves the variant first reported in South Africa.

A total of 38 residents and 15 staff at the 60-bed facility have now tested positive, Russell said.

The COVID outbreak at Pavillon Beau-Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls, has grown to 53 cases. (Submitted by Madeleine LeClerc )

"My understanding is [residents] received their first dose in February and they received their second dose in April," she said.

"As you know, there are different types of people in terms of age, comorbidities. And also we have to understand that all long-term care facilities and nursing homes have advanced care directives for all of their patients. So some patients do not wish to be resuscitated, some patients are palliative, et cetera."

"These are some of the factors that can play into how outbreaks are going to go."

Last month, Russell revealed that three hospitalized COVID patients had each received at least one dose of vaccine and the timing of their shots in relation to the onset of symptoms.

Asked why she won't divulge the same type of details about the five special care home residents who died, she replied: "We're trying to make sure that the public has information to protect themselves. That is the the barometer of what we use in terms of sharing information."

Positive cases at Hampton school, daycare

Roughly 230 students and staff at a kindergarten to Grade 2 school in Hampton have been asked to self-isolate with their families because of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

In a letter to parents Sunday, Public Health said an investigation is going on at Dr. A. T. Leatherbarrow Primary School. Families have been asked to self-isolate until midnight while contact tracing is conducted.

"All students and staff and everyone who lives under the same household are required to self-isolate. This means that your child is not able to attend daycare and you are not able to attend work. You are also not to receive any visitors at your home."

Dr. A.T. LeatherBarrow Primary School was closed Monday because of a case of COVID-19. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

Public Health said it will contact anyone who is at risk with further information.

A positive case of COVID-19 was also confirmed Sunday at Go-Go After School at Hampton Elementary.

Children, staff and their families have been told by Public Health to self-isolate until 11:59 p.m. Monday while contact tracing is carried out. The daycare is closed.

Those identified as a close contact will be contacted directly by Public Health.

Update on case at Kennebecasis Valley High School

"Most" Kennebecasis Valley High School students will return to the Quispamsis school on Tuesday, after a positive case was confirmed on Saturday, said Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane.

"Any students that were contacted directly by Public Health will learn from home until otherwise advised," he said in an emailed statement.

He did not say how many students, staff and family members have been ordered to continue to self-isolate.

The school has more than 1,000 students in grades 9-12, according to its website.

No school was planned Monday.

Graduation ceremony guidelines

The Department of Education released guidelines Monday for high school graduation ceremonies.

The type of ceremony that can be held will depend on which COVID alert level the zone is in at that time, said Education Minister Dominic Cardy.

Any school in a red or lockdown zone during graduation must hold the ceremony virtually.

No school-organized proms will be permitted.

Graduation ceremonies or activities must follow the province’s mandatory order and the operational plan of the venue, whether the event is hosted by the school or a privately owned facility, said Education Minister Dominic Cardy. (Government of New Brunswick )

"While school-organized proms will not be possible this year, I am confident that schools and school districts will be creative in their planning, just as we saw so many rise to the occasion last year," said Cardy.

He urged families planning their own celebrations to ensure they meet the standards set out in the mandatory order.

"We talk about safe grad ceremonies around having alcohol- and drug-free grad ceremonies. Let's try and make sure we have COVID-free grad ceremonies this year."

Parents and guardians should encourage students to be safe by following physical distancing guidelines and wearing a mask, when required, he said.

New exposure notifications

Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the Moncton region, Zone 1:

  • Pumphouse, 5 Orange Ln., Moncton, on May 4 between 8 and 10 p.m.
  • Staples, 233 Main St., Moncton, on May 5, between noon and 8 p.m.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 477 Paul St., Dieppe, on May 6, between 7 and 10 p.m.
  • Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 7, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 6 while on the following flights:

  • Air Canada Flight 396 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 6:50 a.m.
  • Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:43 p.m.

Public Health is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even it they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to book an appointment.

Previous exposure notifications

Moncton region:

  • Greco Pizza, 120 Killam Dr., Moncton, on May 5, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., May 3, between 5:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., and May 2, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 4, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université Ave., Moncton, on May 7, between 2-9:30 p.m., and May 6, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Saint John region:

  • Foodland, 1 Market Sq., Quispamsis, on May 3, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Fredericton region:

  • Lunar Rogue, 625 King St., Fredericton, on April 28, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.
  • Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell, on May 6, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and April 28, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 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:

  • 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.

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