New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 15 new cases, fourth variant case and another death

Public Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 and another death in New Brunswick, bringing the province's COVID-related death toll to 21.

Province's COVID-related death toll hits 21, restraint in Edmundston on Day 1 of life after lockdown

Public Health has confirmed a fourth case of the variant in the province. Premier Blaine Higgs said the confirmation is a reminder to "not let our guard down" where the virus is concerned. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

Latest

  • Public exposure notifications for two flights
  • A subdued Day 1 of life after lockdown for Edmundston
  • Together but apart: Big differences in Atlantic provinces' COVID counts
  • 15 new cases
  • Fourth variant case confirmed
  • St. Stephen High School confirms case

Public Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 and another death in New Brunswick.

The department did not hold a live-streamed update on Tuesday, but in a news release, it confirmed the new cases, most of them in the Edmundston region, as well as the death of a resident of the Manoir Belle Vue adult residential facility in Edmundston.

The person who died was between the ages of 80 and 89 and had underlying complications, including COVID-19, the statement said.

This death brings the total number of COVID-related deaths in the province to 21.

The new cases announced Tuesday break down in this way:

Moncton region, Zone 1, two cases:

  • an individual 20 to 29 
  • an individual 30 to 39 

Saint John region, Zone 2, three cases:

  • an individual 19 or under 
  • an individual 20 to 29 
  • an individual 70 to 79 

Edmundston region, Zone 4, 10 cases:

  • an individual 19 or under 
  • an individual 40 to 49
  • four people 60 to 69
  • two people 70 to 79
  • two people 80 to 89

Six of the 10 cases in Zone 4 are related to the outbreak at Villa des Jardins, an adult residential facility in Edmundston.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,361. Since Monday, 13 people have recovered for a total of 1,156 recoveries. There have been 21 deaths, and the number of active cases is 183. Seven patients are hospitalized, and two are in intensive care. A total of 212,167 tests have been conducted, including 1,250 since Monday's report.

There are currently 183 active cases in New Brunswick. (CBC News)

Relief after 'reality check' in Edmundston

The Edmundston region, Zone 4, is back in the red phase of recovery after 15 days of lockdown, and some residents say the lesson has left its mark.

"The lockdown was a really strong reality check, where people saw what happens when you don't follow the guidelines," Edmundston resident and business owner Jim Rice said in an interview with CBC News on Tuesday.

"We'd been in a little bit of a golden zone where people were thinking 'Hey, things are great in New Brunswick,' even more so in northern New Brunswick where nothing was really touching us."

Then all of a sudden, "it hit us really bad," Rice said. Suddenly there were outbreaks at nursing homes, spiralling case counts, deaths and then, abruptly, a lockdown.

On Tuesday, when businesses like Rice's BrandSource Rice furniture store were allowed to reopen, things were subdued.

"There's still a little fear in people's minds because we're still in the red phase." 

Public Health has confirmed a case of COVID-19 in an Edmundston school and identified a previously confirmed case in the region as a presumptive variant case. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada file photo)

Rice said his business was one of the lucky ones: he's been kept busy throughout the pandemic by people undertaking home renovation projects.

For many others, it's been a struggle.

The travel-tourism industries, such as snowmobile clubs and ski hills, and the food and lodging industries have had a tough go of it, Rice said.

"A lot of people are struggling, a lot of people are out of work. There's not that much assistance being offered to the businesses – it really makes things tough."

Nevertheless, Rice said, there is optimism.

"Honestly, we were expecting to be locked down a lot longer," he said. "We got back on our feet quickly. ... Now, if the situation at seniors' homes stabilizes, that will get the confidence back up to another level."

Dr. Jennifer Russell says New Brunswickers should remain vigilant as COVID-19 active case counts drop to 75. "Get tested if you have any symptoms," she said. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

Together but apart: Big differences in Atlantic provinces' COVID counts

Just three months ago, the four Atlantic provinces were cosily bubbled. Now they're drifting into increasingly distinct spheres of COVID-19 case counts, and even their predictions of when we might all "bubble up" again are different.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw its case count soar on Tuesday, reporting 30 new cases, community transmission and 57 active cases.

That's the highest number of active cases the province has seen since April, and its Tuesday case count was the second-highest single-day tally since the start of the pandemic.

At a briefing Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced that, effective midnight, the St. John's metro area would be under special health measures for the next two weeks, a so-called "circuit breaker" to try to prevent the virus's spread.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia continues to see low COVID-19 case numbers.

The province reported just one case on Tuesday and moved to loosen some Public Health restrictions.

Premier Stephen McNeil also announced that travellers coming to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland and Labrador will now have to isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Only Prince Edward Island residents can now enter the province without isolating.

Prince Edward Island is also experiencing low case counts. It didn't report any new cases on Tuesday and has just four active cases.

The Island has COVID-19 appointments booked to fully vaccinate 2,750 residents aged 80 and up, although seasonal residents who are weathering the pandemic on P.E.I. won't be eligible to get the vaccine there. 

As for prospects of when we might see the return of the beloved Atlantic bubble, chief medical health officers in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia have floated April 1 as a possibility.

Their New Brunswick counterpart, Dr. Jennifer Russell, is evaluating the situation.

In an email, Health Department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said that given the evolving COVID-19 situation, the chief medical health officer can't "make a commitment on any possible dates for the Atlantic Bubble."

"The situation is continuing to evolve, with many unknowns," he said. "There will be ongoing discussions in the following weeks with Public Health and COVID-19 cabinet around the epidemiology in all of the provinces in combination with vaccine rollout status." 

Fourth variant case confirmed

A sample sent to Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory earlier this month from Moncton's Dr. Georges-L-Dumont University Hospital Centre's lab has been confirmed as the COVID-19 variant first reported in the U.K.

The case in the Moncton region, Zone 1, is related to international travel and was identified earlier as a suspected case of the variant. Public Health said this person "has been self-isolating and continues to do so."

Premier Blaine Higgs first referred to this suspected case on Friday.

In a statement Tuesday, Higgs said the confirmation of the variant is a reminder of the importance of "not letting down our guard where this virus is concerned."

"COVID-19 has already taken too much away from us," he said. "We must continue to work together and do everything in our power to ensure it has no opportunity to spread further."

St. Stephen High School confirms case

St. Stephen High School was closed Tuesday following a confirmed case in the school.

The school informed families of the news in an email sent Monday night. The email noted that the school is working with Public Health officials to identify any students or school staff who might have been in contact with the case. 

The school was closed Tuesday for an "operational day" and will reopen Wednesday.

Public exposure notification for two flights

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

  • Air Canada Flight 8918 on Jan. 27, from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:30 p.m.  
  • Air Canada Flight 8906 on Jan. 28, from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 6:48 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Sutherland is a web writer with CBC New Brunswick based in Saint John. You can reach her at marie.sutherland@cbc.ca.

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