New Brunswick

N.B. COVID roundup: 1 new case at Woodstock school, Halloween guidance

A Woodstock, N.B., school is reporting a confirmed case of COVID-19. The case is at Townsview School, which has about 600 students in grades K-8.

Case confirmed at Townsview School, which has about 600 students

Townsview School in Woodstock confirmed a positive case of COVID-19. (CBC)

Latest

  • Positive case at Townsview school
  • Woodstock mayor confident in response
  • 1 new case in the Fredericton region
  • 'Steady' turnout at Belledune mass testing
  • Public Health guidance for Halloween

A Woodstock school is reporting a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The case is at Townsview School, which has about 600 students in grades K-8.

David McTimoney, superintendent of the Anglophone West School District, confirmed the case on Saturday. Parents and staff were notified through a letter.

McTimoney said he could not specify whether the case is a student or staff member. 

"We know that the school and the district will work through this situation together and respond as needed," he said.

The school will remain open on Monday. Public Health is conducting contact tracing and will notify people who need to self-isolate and get tested.

Townsview is the seventh school in New Brunswick to report a case of COVID-19, and the first outside the Campbellton region (Zone 5). Woodstock is in Zone 3. 

David McTimoney is the superintendent of the Anglophone West School District. (CBC)

McTimoney said communication with Public Health officials has gone well. 

"We're ready for the days ahead," he said.

Mayor confident in response

The case of COVID-19 in the border community comes after cases have more than doubled in nearby Maine.

While the U.S. land border remains closed to most travel, some essential workers are still permitted to cross.

Woodstock Mayor Arthur Slipp first heard of the case at the school when reached by CBC News. He said the province has tightened entry requirements for visitors from Maine.

"I've had conversations with only mayors along the border and we were very, very pleased to see the province step forward with more supervision and regulation of cross-border traffic," he said.

New Brunswick announced a set of modified self-isolation guidelines for workers on Thursday. It does not apply to daily commuters or truckers.

Workers will be able to leave isolation to access essential goods and services, provided they wear a mask and practise physical distancing. 

Woodstock Mayor Arthur Slipp said trick-or-treating is discouraged in the community this Halloween. (Sarah Morin/CBC)

Slipp said Carleton County has been proactive in following Public Health guidelines and he has confidence in response efforts.

The town's council passed a resolution discouraging trick-or-treating on Halloween this year. A "tunnel of doom" is being held this afternoon at the AYR Motor Centre as an alternative event, along with a scarier version at night for older kids. 

"We were discouraging large groups and gatherings of youth in particular to go throughout different sections of town," Slipp said.

The Woodstock Minor Hockey Association cancelled hockey for all divisions this weekend, as a "precautionary measure" while contact tracing is underway. 

An unrelated hockey game scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 in the Campbellton region has been pushed back due to orange-level restrictions in that area. The Grand Falls Rapids and the Campbellton Tigers will now play at the Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., if health guidelines permit.

1 new case

New Brunswick announced one new case of COVID-19 and two recoveries on Saturday.

The case is an individual age 19 or under in the Fredericton region. Public Health said it is connected to an existing case related to international travel, and the individual is self-isolating.

The province now has 39 active cases of the virus. Five people are in the hospital, but no one is in intensive care.

There are 27 active cases in the Campbellton region, seven active cases in the Fredericton region, and four active cases in the Moncton region (Zone 1). 

There have been 343 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Six people have died and 299 have recovered.

The province conducted 568 tests on Friday for a total of 102,163 since the start of the pandemic in March.

'Steady' turnout at Belledune mass testing

Public Health said 259 individuals turned out to a mass testing clinic offered in Belledune on Friday. That community borders the Campbellton and Bathurst regions and was moved back to the orange level last week-

Mayor Joe Noel said on Friday there was "steady stream" of people going to get tested throughout the day.

"I don't see very many people not abiding by the rules, which is a good thing," he told Shift NB. "People are concerned for themselves and for their neighbours, and you know for their parents and grandparents.

A worker at NB Power's Belledune Generating Station tested positive for COVID-19. Mass testing was held in the community on Friday. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Noel said returning to orange was "a necessity" and he's pleased with the response from Public Health.

The village postponed a drive-thru trick-or-treating event which will be rescheduled for early November.

"Children and their parents in the Woodstock area should continue to feel confident about enjoying Halloween as planned if they have not received a call from Public Health," said Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for Public Health.

Halloween guidance

Trick-or-treating is allowed to proceed in yellow level regions of New Brunswick on Saturday.

But going door-to-door will not be permitted in the Campbellton region, which remains in the orange phase.

Public Health says people who are handing out treats should sanitize their hands between visitors, keep high-touch areas such as door handles and railings clean and consider offering non-food treats such as stickers.

Trick-or-treaters should also wash their hands before heading out and upon returning home.

New Brunswick Public Health has issued guidelines for trick-or-treating. (John Robertson/CBC)

Other recommendations include:

  • Do not wear Halloween masks, only COVID-19 masks.
  • Consider organizing costume parades so children can show off their costumes while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Trick-or-treaters should limit themselves to one neighbourhood and keep track of where they go.
  • Do not permit children to take candy from a bowl of treats unless the treats are arranged so that children wonʼt come in contact with other treats when they grab theirs. Doing up individual treat bags is a good option.
  • People who don't want to participate should put up a sign, such as: Have a happy and safe Halloween; no visitors please.

Public Health has created a COVID-19: Have a Fun and Safe Halloween list of guidelines.

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.

About the Author

Alexandre Silberman is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. He can be reached at alexandre.silberman@cbc.ca

With files from Philip Drost

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