New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 95 new cases reported as vaccine plan for kids expands

New Brunswick reported 95 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and Health Minister Dorothy Shephard warned of possible pre-holiday restrictions if daily count continues to rise.

Health minister says restrictions may be stepped up before Christmas if case count keeps rising

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard speaks to reporters about vaccination efforts. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Latest

  • Moncton region leads new case count, with 28
  • New cases at 5 schools 
  • After-school vaccinations coming to eight schools
  • Visits suspended at Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital
  • Atlantic Canada roundup
  • New potential exposures

New Brunswick reported 95 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 44 more recoveries, putting the province's active case count at  743, up from 692.

Fifty-five people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 18 in intensive care, Public Health said in a release. 

One of the people in hospital is under 19.

At the legislature Thursday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard urged New Brunswickers to remain cautious ahead of Christmas, saying there is always a possibility restrictions will ramp up for the holidays if COVID-19 cases increase again. 

"It is very concerning that the numbers are going up," she told reporters. "There are lots of people worried we are going to lose Christmas, are we are trying to prevent that. And the people of New Brunswick can be a part of that simply by following public health measures."

The province continues to see the number of active cases "creep up, particularly in southern New Brunswick and Miramichi," Shephard said later in the day in a news release.

"We know some of those cases will result in hospitalization, with a greater risk to people who are unvaccinated. Every New Brunswicker has the power to help curb the COVID-19 spread in our province by simply keeping your contact numbers low, wearing a mask, washing your hands and getting vaccinated."

A total of 87.7 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 or older are now fully vaccinated, up from 87.6 per cent, and 93.5 per cent have received their first dose, unchanged from the last update. 

The province's goal is to get at least 90 per cent of the total population double-dosed.

According to the CBC vaccine tracker, 79.2 per cent of the total eligible population is fully vaccinated and 82.6 per cent have received one dose.

Moncton region leads in new cases

(CBC News)

The new cases break down this way:

Moncton region, Zone 1 — 28 cases:

  • Three people 19 or under
  • Seven people 30 to 39
  • Seven people 40 to 49
  • A person 50 to 59
  • Five people 60 to 69
  • Two people 70 to 79
  • A person 80 to 89
  • Two people 90 and over

Fifteen of the cases are under investigation, and 13 are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Saint John region, Zone 2 — 25 cases:

  • Five people 19 or under
  • Two people 20 to 29
  • Seven people 30 to 39
  • Three people 40 to 49
  • Four people 50 to 59;
  • Two people 60 to 69
  • Two people 80 to 89

Fourteen cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases, and 11 are still under investigation.

Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 20 cases:

  • Seven people 19 or under
  • Four people 20 to 29
  • Three people 30 to 39
  • Four people 40 to 49
  • A person 50 to 59
  • A person 70 to 79

Ten cases are under investigation, nine are the contacts of previously confirmed cases, and one is related to travel.

Campbellton region, Zone 5 — one case:

  • One person 19 or under

This case is under investigation.

Bathurst region, Zone 6 — one case:

  • One person 20 to 29

This case is under investigation.

Miramichi region, Zone 7 — 17 cases:

  • 11 people 19 or under
  • A person 30 to 39
  • Four people 40 to 49
  • Three people 60 to 69
  • A person 70 to 79

Thirteen cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and seven are under investigation.

"Over 50 per cent of today's cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases,"  Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in the release. 

A total of 552,442 tests for the coronavirus have also been conducted to date, including 1,884 on Wednesday.

New Brunswick has had 7,998 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including 7,121 recoveries and 123 COVID-related deaths.

After-school vaccinations coming to 8 schools

Eight schools in New Brunswick will be providing vaccinations after school for children five to 11 years old, in partnership with local pharmacies, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says.

"We will meet the demand," Shephard told reporters at the legislature Thursday. "There's all types of ways we can attack this to get this done as quickly as possible."

She wasn't able yet to provide a list of the schools that will be offering the vaccines.

When vaccinations for New Brunswick children were announced on Tuesday, they were only expected to roll out at Horizon and Vitalité community clinics.

To meet the demand, new clinics for children have been added in the Moncton and Fredericton region.

"Clinics will be added in other areas if warranted," the province added in a release Thursday. 

More than 130 pharmacies will also take part in dispensing doses of the vaccine for children, receiving shipments between Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, the province added. More information is expected soon on when appointments at the pharmacies will become available.

A total of 8,383 children had been scheduled for their first doses as of Thursday morning, up from more than 6,200 the day before. 

About 54,500 children are eligible to receive the vaccine, approved last Friday by Health Canada for children aged five to 11.

New Brunswick children who will turn five by Dec. 31, 2021 will also eligible.

Visits suspended at Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital

Vitalité says they are closing the medical unit at the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital, north of Bouctouche, because of a possible COVID-19 exposure. 

"The ban on visits will remain in effect until further notice," the health authority wrote in a statement Thursday. "Vitalité Health Network apologizes for any inconvenience this situation may cause." 

New cases at 5 schools 

Five new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at five schools since Wednesday, the COVID-19 dashboard shows.

Thirty-one schools are currently impacted.

Students returned to in-person classes just over a week ago after the provincial government reached a tentative agreement with striking Canadian Union of Public Employees.

A total of 486 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at 138 schools since the beginning of the school year.

One case has been confirmed at Angels 'R' Wee in the Saint John region, and the Causerie Amicale Inc. in the Moncton region. 

A total of 89 early learning child-care centres have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Sept. 7.

Atlantic COVID roundup

Nova Scotia reported 22 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the active caseload to 169. Seventeen people are in hospital, including five in intensive care.

Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed another COVID-related death Wednesday and four new cases of COVID-19 since Monday. There are 13 active cases and one person is in hospital.

Prince Edward Island announced seven new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and has 36 active cases.

New public exposure notices

Public Health shared new public exposure notices on Thursday:

Moncton region, Zone 1:

  • Nov. 17 between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Silver Fox (2986 Fredericton Rd., Salisbury)

Saint John region, Zone 2:

  • Nov. 16, 17, 18, 19, and 22 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. – Discount Tire (755 Rothesay Ave., Saint John)
  • Nov. 20 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. – Discount Tire (755 Rothesay Ave., Saint John)
  • Nov. 17 between 11 a.m. and noon – St. Andrew & St. David United Church (72 Charlotte St., Saint John)

Fredericton region, Zone 3:

  • Nov. 19 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. – UNB Data Challenge (6 Duffie Dr., Fredericton)

Miramichi region, Zone 7:

  • Nov. 18, 19, and 20 – Hoops Classic Basketball Tournament (345 McKenna Ave., Miramichi)

For the full list of new and previous public exposure notices, please visit the provincial government's website.

People who have not been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure and who have symptoms should get a COVID lab test. They can book an appointment online or call Tele-Care 811 and must isolate while waiting for their test result.

People who are not fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms are now being instructed to pick up an At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Point of Care Test (Rapid POCT) screening kit. They do not need to isolate if they have not been directed by Public Health to do so.

All positive point-of-care test results must be confirmed with a laboratory polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test.

It can take up to 14 days to test positive after being exposed to COVID-19, so even if results come back negative, people should continue to self-monitor for any symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

They should also avoid visiting settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and shelters during that 14-day period.

For people who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure, Public Health recommends they monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the possible exposure and get a COVID lab test if symptoms develop.

They do not need to isolate while they wait for their test results.

If they do not have symptoms, they can pick up a rapid test kit and do not need to isolate.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue, and 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 811 or their doctor and follow instructions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miriam Lafontaine is a reporter with CBC Montreal. She previously worked with CBC New Brunswick in Fredericton, and can be reached at miriam.lafontaine@cbc.ca.

With files from Jacques Poitras

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