New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 77 cases as province prepares for changes to restrictions

Retail stores, malls, salons and spas will have to enforce physical distancing, or if they opt out, can choose to require proof of vaccination instead.

There are 722 active cases in the province

There were 77 new cases declared on Saturday, bringing to the total number of active cases to 722. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

New Brunswick is reporting 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as the province prepares to move into the winter action plan announced on Friday in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.

The measures under Level 1 of the new plan include masking outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained and physical distancing in indoor public spaces that do not require proof of vaccination.

Indoor gatherings may not exceed 20 people. 

Retail stores, including malls, salons and spas must either enforce physical distancing, or, if they opt against that, they can ask for proof of vaccination instead. 

The new measures will come into place at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Further restrictions could also come into effect if cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. 

There have been 66 recoveries since the last update by Public Health, bringing the the province's active case count to 722. 

Fifty-nine people are in hospital with the virus, including 27 over the age of 60 and one under 19. Of those hospitalized, 16 are in intensive care, and 10 of them are on a ventilator.

"Eighteen of the 51 people hospitalized were initially admitted (for hospitalization) for other reasons and contracted COVID-19 due to outbreaks at hospitals in Moncton, Saint John and Miramichi," Public Health wrote in a release Saturday. 

"Most of those people infected are currently exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19."

As of Friday, fifty-five people, each of whom had travelled to New Brunswick from a country affected by restrictions because of the omicron variant, are in isolation to reduce possible spread of the virus.

The province didn't update that number on Saturday, or say which countries the travellers were returning from. 

Fifty-five people who travelled recently from one of the 10 omicron-variant-barred countries are now isolating in New Brunswick, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said at an update Friday. (Government of New Brunswick/YouTube)

Breakdown of new cases

The new cases were reported across all seven regions of the province.

The breakdown of the new cases includes:

Moncton region, Zone 1 — 12 cases: 

  • Five people 19 and under.
  • Two people 20-29.
  • Two people 30-39.
  • One person 40-49.
  • One person 50-59.
  • One person 60-69.

Eight are under investigation and four are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Saint John region, Zone 2 — 22 cases:

  • Nine people 19 and under.
  • One person 20-29.
  • Three people 30-39.
  • Two people 40-49.
  • Three people 50-59.
  • Two people 60-69.
  • Two people 70-79.

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

Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 22 cases:

  • 12 people 19 and under.
  • Seven people 20-29.
  • Two people 30-39.
  • One person 70-79.

Seventeen are under investigation and five are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Edmundston region, Zone 4 — 1 case: 

  • A person 19 and under.

This case is under investigation.

Campbellton region, Zone 5 — 5 cases:

  • Two people 19 and under.
  • One person 20-29.
  • One person 40-49.
  • One person 50-59.

Two are under investigation and three are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Bathurst region, Zone 6 — 1 case:

  • A person 20-29.

They are the contact of a previously confirmed case.

Miramichi region, Zone 7 — 14 cases: 

  • Five people 19 and under.
  • One person 30-39.
  • Two people 40-49.
  • Three people 50-59.
  • One person 60-69.
  • One person 70-79.
  • One person 80-89.

Four are under investigation and 10 are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

New Brunswick has had 8,680 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and 7,825 recoveries. 

A total of 566,330 tests have been carried out to date, including 1,364 on Friday. 

As of Saturday's update, 81.9 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unchanged from the last update, and 87.1 per cent had received their first dose, also unchanged.

The province will expand the availability of booster doses next week to include people in their 50s, Dr. Jennifer Russell said at a COVID-19 update on Friday. 

Booster doses are already available to those over the age of 65 who received their second vaccine dose six months ago.

In coming weeks eligibility will be expanded to people in their 40s, with other New Brunswickers following after, Russell said.

Public exposure notices

The province listed several exposure notices on Saturday in the Fredericton and Saint John regions.

They include

Saint John region, Zone 2

  • Nov. 28 between 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. – Cineplex Cinemas Saint John (175 McAllister Dr., Saint John)
  • Nov. 27 between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. – TD Station (99 Station St., Saint John)
  • Nov. 27 between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – A&W (131 McAllister Dr., Saint John)

Fredericton region, Zone 3

  • Dec. 1 between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. – St. Mary's Entertainment Centre (185 Gabriel Dr., Fredericton)
  • Nov. 28 between 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. – Snooty Fox (66 Regent St., Fredericton)
  • Nov. 28 between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Grant-Harvey Centre (600 Knowledge Park Rd., Fredericton)
  • Nov. 27 and 28 between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. – St. Mary's Entertainment Centre (185 Gabriel Dr., Fredericton)
  • Nov. 25 between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – Fredericton Indoor Pool (79 Carrington Lane, Fredericton)
  • Nov. 23, 24, 25 and 26 between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. – St. Mary's Entertainment Centre (185 Gabriel Dr., Fredericton)

For the full list of public exposure notices, 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.

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