New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Dalhousie man becomes 4th victim, 6 new cases reported

The town of Dalhousie is mourning the loss of a local man identified as New Brunswick's fourth COVID-19-related fatality.

Moncton region now slated to return to yellow level of recovery Friday instead of Thursday

Rheal Vautour of Dalhousie has been identified as New Brunswick's fourth COVID-19-related fatality. (Facebook)

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The town of Dalhousie is mourning the loss of a local man identified as New Brunswick's fourth COVID-19-related fatality.

Rheal Vautour was in his 70s.

Dalhousie Mayor Normand Pelletier described him as a "down-to-earth gentleman" who "wouldn't hurt a fly."

"That's the problem with COVID, you don't know who it's going to hit and when, or how hard it's going to hit," Pelletier said.

"It's sad to see, but I guess COVID is going to take its toll on our region and the world itself."

The mayor offered heart-felt condolences to Vautour's son, Mark, and to Vautour's siblings.

"They were a big family of eight," he said. "They're a very respected family in the municipality."

Vautour was well-known for his passion for classic vehicles, Pelletier said.

"He's going to be missed because we always [saw] him driving around town with his antique cars."

Public Health said in a news release Wednesday that an individual between 70 and 79 years old in the Campbellton health region, Zone 5, died "as a result of underlying complications, including COVID-19."

The province also recorded six new confirmed cases of the respiratory disease on Wednesday, all in the Campbellton region.

Pelletier is concerned Public Health officials have still not been able to determine the source of the outbreak in the region. The outbreak was first reported by Public Health on Oct. 8.

He urged area residents to "be careful" and follow Public Health measures "to a T."

They should "wear a mask, wash their hands often, keep their distance, and stay in their little bubble for now till we can put this to rest," he said.

'Difficult to witness'

Vautour's death comes just days after COVID-19 claimed the province's third victim. A resident in their 60s at Manoir Notre-Dame, a special care home in Moncton, which is also experiencing an outbreak of the virus, died last Sunday.

"The loss of another person in our province related to COVID-19 is not news we ever want to have to share," Premier Blaine Higgs said in a statement Wednesday, offering his condolences.

"It has been difficult to witness the unfolding outbreak in the Campbellton-Restigouche region," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health.

New Brunswick recorded six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and two more recoveries. (The Canadian Press/NIAID-RML via AP)

The six new cases include a person aged 19 or under, a person in their 30s, two people in their 40s, one person in the 50s, and one person in their 60s.

They are all self-isolating and their cases are under investigation, said Public Health.

Two more people have recovered, leaving 92 active cases across the province.

Five people are in hospital, including one in intensive care.

The active cases include 33 people in the Moncton health region, Zone 1, one person in the Saint John region, Zone 2, one person in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, and 57 people in the Campbellton region.

New Brunswick has had 319 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. To date, 223 people have recovered.

A total of 94,322 tests have been conducted so far, 666 of them on Tuesday.

Moncton and Campbellton remain orange

The Moncton and Campbellton regions remain at the orange level of New Brunswick's COVID-19 recovery plan, and the rest of the province is under the less restrictive yellow level.

"It is anticipated that [the Moncton region] will return to the yellow level on Friday, Oct. 23, if current trends continue," Public Health said Wednesday.

Last week, Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, had both said they expected the switch to take effect on Thursday.

The Campbellton region will remain at the orange level.

Thirty-three of the 92 active COVID-19 cases are in the Moncton health region, which is currently in the orange level of recovery. It's now expected to return to the yellow level on Friday instead of Thursday, Public Health said. (CBC)

About 30 cases have developed in that region in the past couple of weeks, with transmission occurring in "multiple" workplace and social settings, according to Russell.

Too many people are not wearing their masks and not physically distancing, she had said, urging area residents to "redouble" their efforts.

At the orange level, residents are restricted to two-household bubbles, which can extend to include caregivers and immediate family members.

Travel in or out of the zone is discouraged, except for essential reasons, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer with physical distancing.

2nd case confirmed at Dalhousie High

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Dalhousie Regional High School in northern New Brunswick.

Students, staff, parents and guardians at the school in Dalhousie were notified late Tuesday night by Anglophone School District North superintendent Mark Donovan.

This case has no connection with the previously identified case, Public Health said.

Students in Grades 9 to 12 will be doing virtual learning Wednesday while contact tracing is completed by Public Health.

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Dalhousie Regional High School, one of four schools in Dalhousie with COVID cases. (Facebook/Dalhousie Regional High School)

Students in Grades 6 to 8 had not returned to school after it reopened Oct. 15 and were set to return Friday. That may be extended, according to Public Health.

Families will receive updates from the school as decisions are made, it said.

Six schools in Zone 5, the Campbellton region, have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, including all four schools in Dalhousie, one in Campbellton and one in Balmoral.

No student-to-student transmission has been recorded in any school to date, said Public Health.

What to do if you have a symptom

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