N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 9 new cases, Fredericton outbreak stems from former isolation hotel
Chief medical officer of health says end of COVID road getting closer
- Fredericton region remains at yellow level
- Outbreak at a special care home in Shediac
- Outbreak at Chalmers hospital declared over
- Fredericton man died after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine, family says
- 3rd case at Fredericton school
- 2nd confirmed case at Fredericton YMCA daycare
- What about the Atlantic bubble?
- New public exposures
- Previous public exposures
- Other public exposures
- Flight exposures
New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and confirmed the outbreak in the Fredericton region stems from the province's former isolation hotel, Delta Fredericton.
Premier Blaine Higgs also revealed the province has expanded the isolation hotel program, adding a fourth unidentified hotel in the northwest for non-essential travellers to quarantine for up to 14 days.
The Fredericton region, Zone 3, has 74 active cases, more than half of the province's active total of 134.
On Tuesday morning, Dr. Jennifer Russell told CBC's Information Morning Fredericton all of the cases in the region are either new travel-related cases "or they are connected to the original cluster at the Delta."
There are 12 travel-related cases, she told the COVID update during the afternoon.
That means the other 62 originated from the Delta cluster, which has grown to 66 cases — 12 directly related, either staff or patrons, and 54 contacts, either direct or indirect, Russell said.
She did not respond to a question about whether an isolating guest, employee or regular guest has been identified yet as the index case.
Russell said she isn't sure how many positive cases there are at the Hilton Garden Inn, but the one that has been reported was "a direct transmission from the Delta."
Public Health has identified a total of seven cases in designated isolation hotels, she said.
"My understanding is there was only one that transmitted and that was the one at the Delta."
The province does expect to see positive cases at quarantine hotels, said Russell, because leisure travellers, business travellers, people moving to New Brunswick, including most students and people helping them move, are self-isolating there for a period of time.
"And if they do become positive, the whole point is to not have them transmit," she said.
"Certainly when all is said and done, after we no longer need self-isolation hotels, we can definitely compare the rate of transmission, pre-self-isolation hotels and the transmission after self-isolation hotels were implemented. And we're making the assumption that we'll see a definite improvement in terms of before and after."
The premier continued to stand by the program.
"At this point in time, given our case count and the fact that we've been able to contain the virus, I would say no, there hasn't been any regrets," Higgs told reporters.
The other three unidentified quarantine hotels under the recently revised program are in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton.
More than 1,000 people in the province are self-isolating to limit the spread of the virus, Russell said.
Four people are hospitalized in New Brunswick. One New Brunswicker is also hospitalized out of province in an intensive care unit.
"We are nearing the point where we can visualize an end to the [COVID] road, even if we can't quite see it yet," said Russell.
But New Brunswickers must continue to follow Public Health measures to ensure they all arrive safely, she said. "We can't rush ahead or take shortcuts."
The breakdown of the nine new cases is as follows:
Moncton region, Zone 1, six cases:
- Three people 20-29
- A person 30-39
- A person 40-49
- A person 50-59
Three cases are related to travel and three are contacts of previously confirmed cases.
Fredericton region, Zone 3, three cases:
- Two people 19 or under
- A person 30-39
All of these are contacts of existing cases, Russell said.
New Brunswick has had 2,153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 1,975 recoveries so far and 43 COVID-related deaths.
A total of 325,858 tests have been conducted, including 1,101 on Monday.
Fredericton region remains at yellow level
The COVID-19 situation in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, remains concerning, but the region will remain at the least restrictive yellow COVID-19 alert level, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health said Tuesday.
Although the region has rising case numbers, they aren't exceeding Public Health's ability to contact trace or to test, said Dr. Jennifer Russell, noting about 400 people a day are being tested in the capital city.
Virtually all of the active cases can be conclusively linked to one another.
And with more people getting vaccinated, fewer people have required hospitalization, putting less pressure on the health-care system.
As more people get vaccinated, it's less likely the Fredericton region will go into lockdown, said Russell.
There are 74 active cases of COVID-19 in the Fredericton region, but 55.9 per cent of the New Brunswick population has received a least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"We are in a different situation with the percentage of the population vaccinated right now and that will just get better over time," Russell said Tuesday morning.
We seem to be holding our own right now.- Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health
Public Health has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the Fredericton region for more than a week.
"We're looking at all those triggers to make our risk assessment," said Russell.
These include, case counts, hospital capacity and the ability to continue contact tracing.
"Because we have so many people vaccinated now, those same things that are indicators for us and triggers, aren't necessarily translated into the same proportion of people being hospitalized."
Russell said the cluster of cases in the Fredericton region still isn't as bad as the outbreak in the Edmundston region earlier this year, when 20 people were hospitalized at one time and some people needing intensive care had to be transferred to other hospitals in the province.
"Could it become like that Zone 4 outbreak? It definitely could," Russell said. "But we seem to be holding our own right now."
Russell said each of the 74 cases in the Fredericton region is a new travel-related case or is connected to the original COVID-19 cluster at the Delta Hotel in Fredericton.
Russell is urging New Brunswickers to be aware of their surroundings and take responsibility for looking at the COVID-19 exposure list.
"Situational awareness for every individual is very important … so we can get through these next few months," she said.
Meanwhile, some New Brunswickers are already getting their second dose of vaccine.
Right now, New Brunswickers over the age of 18 are eligible to be vaccinated.
Russell said details about vaccinated people under 18 will be coming soon.
More than 60,500 people were vaccinated last week, a record high for the vaccination campaign.
Although Health Canada now recommends storing the Pfizer-Bio-NTech vaccine at regular refrigerated temperatures of 2 to 8 C for up to one month, no changes are anticipated in the province's rollout plan, she said.
The vaccine was first authorized with a recommended storage temperature of between –80 C to –60 C and thawed undiluted vials could be stored in the refrigerator for only up to five days. On March 3, Health Canada authorized a change to enable storage at –25 C to –15 C for up to two weeks.
The vaccination rate for one dose in all health zones is at least 50 per cent, Russell told the COVID briefing Tuesday afternoon. In the Edmundston region, Zone 4, and Miramichi region, Zone 7, it's closer to 60 per cent.
Premier Blaine Higgs said he expects the entire province to hit 60 per cent by the end of the week.
Second doses for long-term care residents will also be completed this week, he said.
The government continues to work on a plan to loosen restrictions to move the entire province toward the green alert level, said Higgs.
"I know everyone is anxious to hear more about our plan to open up, but we want to make sure that it is fully formed before we share details," he said. Once we hit the path to green, we want to be able to keep moving forward and not have to take any steps backward."
Outbreak at a special care home in Shediac
Public Health has declared an outbreak at a special care home in Shediac, in the Moncton region, Zone 1.
A employee of Ti Bons Soins, a memory care home, has tested positive, said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.
Residents and staff will be tested Tuesday, she said, and members of PROMT, the provincial rapid outbreak management team, are on site to assist.
"We are working hard to protect our most vulnerable residents," said Russell. "While vaccinations are helping, we must remain vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities."
The home is approved for 18 beds, according to the government's website.
Outbreak at Chalmers hospital declared over
The COVID-19 outbreak at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (DECRH) campus, which includes the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation and the Veterans Health Unit, has been declared over, effective at midnight Tuesday, the Horizon Health Network has announced.
The three facilities will return to yellow alert level protocols, from red.
This means inpatient visits can resume between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., with one healthy visitor at a time per patient, the regional health authority said in a news release.
Elective surgeries and ambulatory, or outpatient services. which had been postponed during the outbreak. will also resume.
The outbreak was declared on May 13 "due to a high risk of exposure … involving multiple contacts throughout the facility" after a hospital employee tested positive for the variant of concern first reported in India.
"We are pleased to report, following aggressive management, contact tracing, and testing there have been no evidence of secondary transmission within the DECRH campus," Horizon said in a statement.
A total of 77 Horizon staff from the Chalmers campus remain off work "due to COVID-19 related reasons," as of Tuesday, but with the return to yellow-level protocols, "this will serve as the final public update on this situation," Horizon said.
The hospital is at 86 per cent occupancy, with only one available intensive care bed. It has two admitted COVID-19 patients.
The occupancy rates at the other Horizon hospitals in the Fredericton area also "remain high." The Oromocto Public Hospital is listed at 98 per cent and the Upper River Valley Hospital is at 115 per cent.
"We wish to thank our patients, clients, their family members, as well as our physicians and staff for their patience and understanding over the last two weeks," Horizon said.
Fredericton man died after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine, family says
The family of a Fredericton man who died last week says his death was caused by an adverse reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Carey Albert Carle, 58, died Thursday after suffering an adverse reaction to the vaccine, according to his obituary.
Family members did not wish to comment on Tuesday, but in the obituary, they note that Carle was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and darts.
He was married, had a son, Adam, who was "the highlight of his life," and had a close relationship with his parents, Glen and Ferne Carle, whom he saw almost every day.
The obituary does not mention what sort of reaction Carle suffered, nor when he received the vaccine.
The family noted that, "in lieu of flowers, Carey would hope that you do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for another person in his name."
Public Health does not comment on details of COVID-related or vaccine deaths, citing confidentiality reasons.
However, the chief medical officer of health confirmed at a COVID-19 update on Friday that an individual in their 50s had died because of an adverse reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The person in their 50s received their first dose on April 11 and went to an emergency department with symptoms of a blood clot 17 days later, Russell said at that time.
It was the second AstraZeneca-related death in the province, with the first being reported on May 5.
In that instance, a resident in their 60s died after developing blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On May 13, the province announced that it would stop giving the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as the first dose to the general public but would continue using the product.
The province will continue to use AstraZeneca for second doses. It will also be offered to people 55 or older who are confined at home and don't have access to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which require ultra-cold storage and can't be transported to them. They must provide their informed consent.
"There are risks with this product, but there are also benefits when it is used appropriately," said Russell.
3rd case at Fredericton school
A third case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Priestman Street Elementary School in Fredericton, David McTimoney, superintendent of the Anglophone West School District, advised families in a notice Tuesday night.
At this time, there is no in-school transmission, according to the attached letter signed by Dr. Cristin Muecke, the acting medical officer of health for the central region.
But the period of self-isolation for students, staff and household members has been extended by 24 hours to Friday at 11:59 p.m. AT to allow for contact tracing, she said.
They must remain in their home and keep two metres from other people as much as possible, said Muecke.
If possible, they should avoid taking any medication that could hide symptoms or a fever, such as ibuprofen (i.e. Advil) or acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol), she advised.
Students and staff are also strongly encouraged to get tested.
Two COVID-19 cases were confirmed at the school over the long weekend. The school has about 570 students from kindergarten to Grade 5, according to its website.
Public Health will continue its risk assessment based on testing results and determine next steps for the school, said Muecke.
Teachers will get in touch with families on Wednesday to share the plan for distance learning for the remainder of the week, she said.
A positive case of COVID-19 was also confirmed at Connaught Street School in Fredericton over the weekend.
On Sunday, students, staff and household members were asked to self-monitor for two weeks. There was to be no school for students on Tuesday. Instead, teachers were to contact families about distance learning.
2nd confirmed case at Fredericton YMCA daycare
The YMCA of Fredericton has closed all its child-care programs at its 570 York St. location for the rest of the week after a second positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at the daycare, according to a Tuesday morning notice sent to parents by director of child care Brittany Hunter.
The second positive case is in the same pre-school classroom as the first case, which was confirmed over the weekend.
The notice does not indicate whether the cases involve staff or children.
Public Health is advising staff, children and their families to "restrict their movements for essential services only" for the next 48 hours to allow for contact tracing and to stay close to their telephone so representatives will be able to reach them, if necessary.
"In light of this recent development and out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to close all child care programs at the 570 York Street location for the remainder of the week to allow additional time for contact tracing, said Hunter.
This includes the full-time daycare, morning pre-school and after-school programs.
The after-school programs at Royal Road, Nashwaaksis United Church and Park Street remain unaffected by these exposures and will resume regular programming Wednesday, said Hunter.
Further communication regarding what child-care programs will resume next week will be communicated by the end of this week, she said.
What about the Atlantic bubble?
As summer looms, there still isn't a date for the reopening of the Atlantic bubble.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said officials are watching what's happening in all four Atlantic provinces.
"We're monitoring the situation," she said.
Russell said COVID-19 numbers are dropping in Nova Scotia, but they aren't as low as they need to be to reopen the Atlantic bubble.
"But we will keep having those conversations," Russell said.
Nova Scotia reported 54 new cases Tuesday, compared to 49 on Monday. The province has 846 active cases.
Prince Edward Island has no new cases to report, with its weekly briefing moved to Thursday this week. The province has 13 active cases.
Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed 11 new cases of COVID-19 connected to a growing cluster in the central part of the island of Newfoundland. There are 93 active cases.
New public exposures
Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following locations and dates:
Moncton region, Zone 1:
- Extreme Windows, 80 Loftus St., Moncton, on May 18, May 19, May 20 and May 21 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Subway, 100 Morton Ave., Moncton, on May 19 between 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
- TD Bank, 525 Regis St., Dieppe, on May 22 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Fredericton region, Zone 3:
- Arthurette General Store, 1450 Route 109, Red Rapids, on May 11 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., May 16 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and May 21 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
- Save Easy, A-24 Columbus St., Perth-Andover, on May 11, May 14, May 15, and May 21 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Grant's Service Centre, 1151 W. Riverside Dr., Perth-Andover, on May 13 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
- NB Liquor, 26F Tribe Rd., Perth-Andover, on May 13 between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Lewis Pharmacy, 14F Tribe Rd., Perth-Andover, on May 11 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and May 14 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Squeaky's Convenience, 2-18F Tribe Rd., Perth-Andover, on May 14 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
- Castle Building Supplies, 24B Columbus St., Perth-Andover, on May 14 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and May 20 between noon. and 5:30 p.m.
- Aldo Shoes, 1381 Regent St., on May 19, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Le Château, 1381 Regent St., on May 19, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Lawtons Drugs, 1381 Regent St., on May 19 and May 20, between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
- Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 21, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Dollarama, 1033 Prospect St., on May 21, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Giant Tiger, 1160 Smythe St., on May 21 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Public Health is now offering COVID-19 testing for all New Brunswickers who have been in a public exposure area, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811.
People experiencing one or more symptom are also encouraged to get tested.
Previous public exposures
Public Health identified nine public exposure sites Monday, all in the Fredericton region.
- Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton on Saturday, May 15, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Walmart Supercentre, 1399 Regent St., Fredericton on Sunday, May 16, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Shoppers Drug Mart, 1040 Prospect St., Fredericton on Sunday, May 16, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- Walmart, 125 Two Nations Crossing, Fredericton on Monday, May 17, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Dollarama, 125 Two Nations Crossing, Fredericton on Monday, May 17, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Sobeys Fast Fuel, 530 Brookside Dr., Fredericton on Monday, May 17, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Fadi's Pizza, 312 Main St., Fredericton on Tuesday, May 18, between noon and 2 p.m.
- Fredericton Regional Centre, 300 St. Mary's St., on Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Atlantic Superstore, 116 Main St., Fredericton on Wednesday, May 19, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Other public exposures
Public Health said the dates of a previously reported public exposure at the Fredericton YMCA daycare were incorrect. The correct dates are:
- Fredericton YMCA daycare, 570 York St., Fredericton, on Tuesday, May 18 and Wednesday, May 19
- Christ Church (Parish) Church, 245 Westmorland St., Fredericton, Sunday, May 16, 10:30 a.m. service.
- Hope City Church, 429 Clements Dr., Fredericton, on Sunday, May 16, 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. services.
- Petro Canada, 20 Royal Rd., Fredericton, on Tuesday, May 18, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Home Depot, 1450 Regent St., Fredericton, Wednesday, May 19, between 5 and 7 p.m.
- Scholten's, 325 Sunset Dr., Fredericton, on May 17 between 4 and 8 p.m.
- Atlantic Superstore, 116 Main St., Fredericton, on May 16 between 9 and 11 a.m.
- Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen St., Fredericton, on May 15 between 3 p.m. and May 16 at noon.
- Riverbend Golf Club, 541 Route 628, Durham Bridge,on May 15, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Penniac Ultramar, 22 Route 628, on May 15, between 9 and 11 a.m. and between 2 and 4 p.m.
- Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market, 665 George St., on May 15 between 10 a.m. and noon
- Moores Clothing, 1150 Prospect St., on May 15, between 11 a.m. and noon.
- Home Depot, 1450 Regent St., on May 15, between noon and 1 p.m.
- Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen St., between 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, and noon on Sunday, May 16.
- Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton, on Friday, May 14, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- CJ Munn Equipment, 1095 Hanwell Rd., Fredericton, on Friday, May 14, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- McMath Law Office, 406 Regent St., on May 14, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
- Fredericton Mitsubishi, 327 St. Mary's St., on May 14, between 10:45 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Pizza Delight, 243 St. Mary's St., on May 14, between noon and 2 p.m.
- The Abbey Café, 546 Queen St., on May 14, between noon and 12:30 p.m.
- Scotiabank, 490 King St., on May 14, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Sobeys, 1180 Prospect St., on May 14, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
- Cannon's Cross Pub, 15 Riverside Dr., on May 14, between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 14, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
- Cal's Independent Grocer, 135 Otis Dr., Nackawic, on May 14, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
- Irving Big Stop Blue Canoe restaurant, 415 Nevers Rd., Waasis, on May 14, between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
- Progressive Credit Union, 395 Connell Rd., Woodstock, on May 13, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Giant Tiger, 1160 Smythe St., on May 13, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Scholten's, 325 Sunset Dr., on May 13, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 12, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and May 13, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- A&W, 1018 Prospect St., Fredericton, on May 12, between noon and 2 p.m.
- NB Power, 515 King St., on May 12, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Sobeys Fast Fuel, 530 Brookside Dr., on May 12, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus, residence administration building, 20 Bailey Dr., Fredericton, on May 11 and May 12, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Sobeys, 463 Brookside Dr., Fredericton, on May 11, between 6 and 8 p.m.
- Tony Pepperoni, 510 Brookside Dr., on May 11, between 5 and 7 p.m.
- The Drome, 301 Main St., on May 11, between 8:45 and 11 p.m.
- Shoppers Drug Mart, 1040 Prospect St., on May 11, from 9 to 10 a.m.
- Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Pickle Jar Restaurant, 620 Queen St., from May 11 to May 16.
- Tim Hortons drive-thru, Regent Street, on May 10, at 1:30 p.m.
- Atlantic Superstore, 471 Smythe St, on May 10, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and May 11, from 10 a.m. to noon.
- Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, 700 Priestman St., on May 10-11.
- Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, 800 Priestman St., on May 10-11.
- Veterans Health Unit, 680 Priestman St., on May 10-11.
- Wolastoq Wharf, 527 Union St., on May 9, between noon and 2:30 p.m.
- Northside Market, 170 Main St., on May 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Irving Oil, 181 King St., on May 9, from 8 to 10 p.m.
- Dollarama, 5 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 2 p.m.
- NB Liquor, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m.
- Home Sense, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m.
- Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12.
- STMR. 36 Restaurant – Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12.
- Costco Wholesale, 140 Granite Dr., Moncton, on May 9, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Tim Hortons, 54 Canada St., Saint-Quentin, on May 16, between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
- Jean Coutu, 177 Victoria St., on May 15, between noon and 1 p.m.
- Tim Hortons, 1420 Vanier Blvd., Bathurst, on May 16, between 5 and 7 p.m.
Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights:
- Air Canada 314 – from Vancouver to Montreal, departed at 11:24 p.m. on May 11.
- Air Canada 8902 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 1:06 p.m. on May 12.
- Air Canada 8946 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:47 p.m. on May 10.
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.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
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.
With files from Information Morning Fredericton