New Brunswick reports three new COVID-19 cases and 24th COVID-19-related death

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FREDERICTON — New Brunswick on Tuesday reported its 24th COVID-19-related death, at an Edmundston long-term care facility that has been one of the hardest-hit nursing homes in the province.

Health officials said the latest death involved a resident in their 80s at the Manoir Belle Vue long-term care home, where most of the recent COVID-19-related deaths in New Brunswick have occurred and where 47 residents and 36 staff have tested positive.

"I grieve with the family of the deceased and ask you to join me in offering our most sincere and heartfelt condolences," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, told reporters in Fredericton.

Meanwhile, health officials declared the outbreak at the Parkland Saint John long-term care home officially over. The facility in Saint John was linked to 50 cases, involving 29 residents and 21 staff. Russell said everyone at the nursing home has tested negative for the past 28 days.

She reported three new cases of COVID-19 in the province Tuesday: one in the Moncton area and two in the Edmundston region, in the northwest of the province, which borders Quebec and the state of Maine. The Edmundston region — also known as Zone 4 — has been at the "red" pandemic-alert since Jan. 17.

"In the coming days, we will be reassessing the situation in Zone 4 to determine when we can move these communities to the orange alert level with the rest of the province," Russell said.

There are 130 active reported cases in the province and six people in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care.

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said despite the recent reduction in shipments of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination clinics are forging ahead. She said about 12,000 out of 27,000 health-care workers in the province have received a first dose, and about 3,000 out of 11,000 long-term care residents have received a first injection.

"This week, more than 1,950 health-care workers are scheduled to receive their second dose of the vaccine at clinics," Shephard said. "As well, more than 1,480 people are scheduled to receive their second dose of the vaccine at clinics in long-term care homes."

The minister said the recent reduction in vaccine shipments prompted officials to readjust the planned rollout of the vaccine, adding that details of the changes will be announced later this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press