NB COVID-19 summary: 19 new cases in five zones, nine cases confirmed in nursing home
The province reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in five zones on Thursday, prompting Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell called for increased vaccination schedules and strict public health guidelines on travel and self-isolation. Nine of the new cases are in a Zone 4 Grand Falls nursing home, where an outbreak was reported on Wednesday. An outbreak was also reported at Murray Street Lodge in Grand Bay-Westfield in the Saint John area on Wednesday. On Thursday, Higgs found that “only 59 percent of long-term carers opted for a vaccination,” compared to more than 90 percent of residents and about 90 percent of those working for regional health authorities. “It’s important that more long-term carers get vaccinated in the coming weeks,” Higgs said on a live-streamed update. He also highlighted truck drivers as a group that needs to step up vaccination efforts. Russell stressed the importance of following the travel and self-isolation guidelines, especially as new variations emerge. “We are very, very, very concerned about the arrival of a variant from India,” which has already been identified in Quebec and other provinces, Russell said. “You shouldn’t pick up family members at the airport,” said Russell. “You shouldn’t treat your dishes from meals delivered. The risk is just too high.” Union President Doubts Higgs’ Numbers The President of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions is skeptical of the numbers Premier Blaine Higgs provided in Thursday’s update on the percentage of nursing home workers vaccinated. Regarding the growing outbreak at the Beau-Lieu Nursing Home Pavilion in Grand Falls, Higgs said, “only 59 percent of long-term carers have chosen to be vaccinated,” compared with about 90 percent of those working at regional health authorities. “It’s a problem,” said Higgs. “Fortunately, residents are over 90 percent vaccinated, so residents are protected, but we need to make sure caregivers stay protected. We encourage them to protect themselves because they are serving a vulnerable population and they also risk infect others in the community. ”In a post-update interview, Council Chairwoman Sharon Teare questioned that figure. “How did you get that number, how is this data collected to get to this number that you came to? Because I didn’t hear how hesitant that number would be.” Teare said the “inconsistent” planning of the rollout and clinics for nurses, as well as limited information about the vaccines, hurt compliance rates initially. Of the 51 nursing homes covered by the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions, “none of the nursing homes has had an outbreak. None,” she said. “It’s a unionized facility. So when we talk about workers in … non-unionized facilities, what is it missing? A big key is education.” Stricter enforcement of isolation rules could come New, stricter enforcement measures, such as mandatory hotel stays for travelers arriving in New Brunswick, could soon be put in place to ensure isolation policies are followed. “This is being very actively looked at,” Premier Blaine Higgs said on Thursday’s live update of COVID-19. “We meet every day now … it could become a reality.” Higgs said with the province counting down the 10 weeks to vaccinate everyone, there is evidence that existing rules are not being followed. “We have seen cases where ‘family travelers go home from the airport’ and isolate themselves with the family and then the family becomes infected,” he said, noting that one person tested negative and upon arrival in New Brunswick Days later can turn positive. “We’re at the tipping point right now,” said Higgs. “Instead of saying, ‘Oh, I’m fine, I don’t need to worry about that, I had no problem.’ Just assume you have a problem and act accordingly. Let’s stay there for the next 10 weeks so we can return for a summer in New Brunswick. “Maine does not currently share vaccines Prime Minister Blaine Higgs said Thursday he did asked the governor of Maine to see if New Brunswick truckers could be vaccinated while in that state. This is similar to the partnership between Manitobia and North Dakota announced on Tuesday. Jackie Farwell, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said Maine is keeping its vaccines for its residents for the time being, as the state’s allotment is based on its population. “Demand for the vaccine continues to outpace supply in the state,” Farwell said, despite not having closed the door to future sharing. “We anticipate that in the future we will work with our Canadian colleagues to discuss cross-border collaboration on vaccination as soon as the supply of the vaccine increases.” Local elections will take place on May 10 in all regions except the Edmundston-Haut Madawaska region, which is still on hold, said Dr. Jennifer Russell on Thursday. (New Brunswick Government) 19 new cases in five zones. Dr. Jennifer Russell announced 19 new cases on Thursday, including nine at the Pavilion Beau-Lieu Nursing Home in Grand Falls, where a case outbreak was reported on Wednesday. Moncton Region, Zone 1, two cases: one person 30 to 39 one person 60 to 69 Both cases are travel related, including a foreign temporary worker. Saint John Region, Zone 2, three cases: two people 20 to 29 one person 30 to 39 All three cases are travel related. Fredericton Region, Zone 3, two cases: a person 30 to 39 a person 80 to 89 One case is travel related and the other is being investigated. Edmundston Region, Zone 4, 11 cases: one person 19 or below one person 40 to 49 one person 70 to 79 six people 80 to 89 two people 90 or more All 11 cases are contacts from previously confirmed cases. Nine of the eleven cases are related to the outbreak at Pavilion Beau-Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls. These cases are not believed to be related to the Edmundston area outbreak. Bathurst Region, Zone 6, one case: one person 50-59. This case is travel related. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,823. As of Wednesday, 11 people have recovered for a total of 1,642 recoveries. There have been 34 deaths and the number of active cases is 146. Fifteen patients are being hospitalized, five of them in an intensive care unit. A total of 280,010 tests have been conducted, including 1,299 since Wednesday’s report. Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada there are currently 146 active cases in the province. (CBC News) Lockdown to be reassessed on Monday Public Health has recommended cabinet lockdown of the Edmundston area for the time being, with a reassessment on Monday. “We know Zone 4 has made progress and cases are slowly decreasing, but we have to wait a few more days to make sure this trend continues,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer for health, on Thursday. “There are still unsecured cases in the Edmundston area that pose a risk, so the areas that are locked and are at the orange level will stay there for the time being.” Dr. Jennifer Russell shared a graph showing “why we continue to be concerned” about the outbreak in the Edmundston area on Thursday. The graph shows the confirmed cases in the current outbreak, including three large groups of cases with confirmed links and a number of cases with no link to any other known case. (Government of New Brunswick) Local elections will be held on May 10th. Most areas will hold local elections across New Brunswick on May 10, said Dr. Jennifer Russell on Thursday’s COVID-19 update. “Like so much in the past year, this campaign will look and feel different from what we have seen in the past,” she said. Campaign guidelines have been provided for candidates, including using social media or handing out flyers to get their message across. Candidates can advertise door-to-door in zones with a yellow and orange phase. “However, if you do so, please … wear a mask, keep a physical distance of two meters at all times, and do not go into voters’ homes.” Said Russell. Elections will not take place in the Edmundston-Haut Madawaska region, which is still in lockdown, the province later said. Public Health will have a live Q&A session on Friday New Brunswickers will have the opportunity to ask the Provincial Chief Health Officer their questions about COVID-19, vaccines and the situation in the Edmundston Area, Zone 4 on Friday. A Q&A session will be streamed live on the New Brunswick Government Youtube channel at 1:30 pm. Residents are encouraged to submit their questions now to be asked at the meeting. Dr. Jennifer Russell and Dr. John Tobin, Head of Family Medicine Department in Zone 4 of the Vitalité Health Network, will be participating in the Q&A, according to posts on the gnb.ca Twitter account and the New Brunswick Government Facebook page. Residents can submit their questions on any of these platforms. Dozens of questions have been asked on topics ranging from self-isolation rules after vaccination to the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Possible Exposure Notices Saint John: Holy Spirit Parish, 45 Dollard Dr., Saint John, on Sunday April 18th between 11am and 12pm. The church has been closed for two weeks as a preventive measure, and the Church of St. Rose of Lima (part of the Parish of the Holy Spirit) will also be closed for the next two weeks until May 8th and 9th. Service New Brunswick, 15 King Square North, on April 15 between 3 and 3:45 p.m. Rocky’s Sports Bar, 7 Market Square, on April 15 between 4 and 6 p.m. Edmundston and region: E. & P. Sénéchal Center, Vitalité Health Network Vaccination Clinic, 60 Ouellette St., Grand Falls, on Monday, April 19, between 1.15 and 7 p.m. Familiprix, 131 de l’Église St., on April 8, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jean Coutu, 77 Victoria St., Edmundston on April 16 between 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm; on April 14 between 12 noon and 12.45 p.m. and on April 12, between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Public Health also identified a traveler who may have been infected on the following flights on April 14th and 15th: Air Canada Flight 8970 – Ottawa to Montreal, departing at 6:28 p.m. on April 14th. Air Canada Flight 8898 – Montreal to Moncton, departing April 14 at 8:14 am. Air Canada Flight 318 – Calgary to Montreal departing April 15 at 11:53 am. Air Canada Flight 8906 – Montreal to Moncton, departing April 15 at 7:08 pm. People who have been in these areas can be tested for COVID-19 even if they do not experience symptoms. What to do if you have a symptom People who may have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. According to Public Health, symptoms of people with COVID-19 include: fever above 38 ° C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. A headache. New tiredness, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. Symptoms in children also included purple markings on their fingers and toes. People with any of these symptoms should: Stay home. Call Tele-Care 811 or your doctor. Describe the symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.