N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 19 new cases reported, third death at Saint John nursing home

·9 min read

Public Health has reported 19 new cases and confirmed the province's 12th COVID-related death.

In a news release Wednesday, the department said a person between the ages of 70 and 79 in the Saint John region, Zone 2, has died as a result of underlying complications, including COVID-19.

Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, shared condolences with the family of the deceased, who was a resident of Lily Court of Parkland Saint John's Tucker Hall.

"Marcia and I are saddened to hear of another loss in our province due to COVID-19," Higgs said in the release. "On behalf of all New Brunswickers, we offer our sincere condolences to their family and friends."

"This is another sad moment for New Brunswick," Russell said. "I ask all New Brunswickers to join me in extending our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the deceased."

Death is the third at Shannex nursing home in Saint John

In an email sent to Shannex Parkland families Tuesday night, the Saint John home said: "We have some additional sad news to share. Another resident from Lily Court has passed away."

The resident had initially not tested positive, the email said, and staff are working with public health officials "to further investigate the cause of their passing."

Earlier on Tuesday, families were notified by email that two residents — one in their 70s and one in their 80s — from Lily Court had died. Both had previously tested positive for COVID-19.

CBC News
CBC News

6 of 7 zones affected as 19 new cases reported

Public Health reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The new cases break down this way:

Moncton region, Zone 1, one case:

  • an individual 50-59

Saint John region, Zone 2, five cases:

  • an individual 19 and under

  • an individual 30-39

  • an individual 50-59

  • an individual 60-69

  • an individual 70-79

Fredericton region, Zone 3, three cases:

  • an individual 19 and under

  • an individual 20-29

  • an individual 40-49

Edmundston region, Zone 4, eight cases:

  • an individual 19 or under

  • an individual 20-29

  • two people 40-49

  • an individual 50-59

  • an individual 60-69

  • two people 70-79 .

Campbellton region, Zone 5, one case:

  • an individual 40-49

Bathurst region, Zone 6, one case:

  • an individual 30-39.

All of these people are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 836 and 593 have recovered. There have been 12 deaths, and the number of active cases is 230. Three patients are hospitalized.

As of Wednesday, 166,003 tests have been conducted, including 1,118 since Tuesday's report.

Tahmina Aziz/CBC News file photo
Tahmina Aziz/CBC News file photo

Dollarama confirms N.B. case, closes 9 stores for deep-clean

The Dollarama chain of discount stores said Wednesday it has temporarily closed nine of its New Brunswick stores for deep-cleaning after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The nine stores, including five Fredericton locations, were visited between Jan. 4 and Jan. 8 by the employee in the course of their duties, Dollarama media relations representative Lyla Radmanovich said in an email to CBC News.

"The employee was not exhibiting symptoms at the time and was following COVID-19 measures in place, including wearing a mask and respecting physical distancing," Radmanovich said. "We look forward to reopening these stores by no later than Saturday."

She noted that this is Dollarama's first New Brunswick case, and that they are not aware of any other employees at the nine locations who are experiencing symptoms.

The nine locations, which were closed out of "an abundance of caution," are as follows.

Fredericton locations:

  • 5 Trinity Ave.

  • 1381 Regent St.

  • 125 Two Nations Crossing

  • 528 Smythe St.

  • 102 Main St.

Outside of Fredericton:

  • 337 Connell St., Woodstock

  • 15 Mowin St., Edmundston

  • 11 Madawaska Centre Blvd., Saint-Basile

  • 1198 Onondaga St., Oromocto

Campbellton hockey team confirms case

The Campbellton Tigers have confirmed a positive case on its hockey team.

Pierre Girard, the team's governor and co-owner, said the case is not travel-related but that the player was in direct contact with one of the cases in the community.

The team is now working with public health officials to determine who else may have been exposed. Although the Tigers haven't played a game since Dec. 19, those who stayed in New Brunswick for the holidays have practised together since Dec. 28, Girard said by email Wednesday afternoon.

Those who left for Christmas were required to be back by Dec. 26 to begin 14 days of self-isolation, he said.

All players and personnel who were in direct contact with the positive player will be tested, said Girard.

Those "at risk will be advised of the next steps," according to a news release issued Wednesday by the team and the Maritime Hockey League (MHL).

It also said the Tigers are "following the guidelines set out in the MHL's Return to Play plan, which was developed and approved by all three provincial governments in the Maritimes."

Since the Tigers have not played any games since Dec. 19, the release said, "there is no concern that this confirmed case has affected other teams in the league."

Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Labour Congress

Sick? Staying home is 'the right answer, every time'

A career and human resources strategist in Saint John is urging anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work.

"That's the right answer every single time," said Shauna Cole.

Cole's comments come after word from provincial officials last week that 150 people were potentially exposed to the coronavirus because of one employee who came to work when sick.

"What's going to be a whole lot worse on your overall reputation in the workplace is if you're that person that comes to work who's sick and infects everyone else," Cole said.

The Canadian Labour Congress agrees staying home is the right thing to do, but says people often choose otherwise to meet basic needs like grocery and rent money.

"Workers live from paycheque to paycheque to a large extent," said president Hassan Yussuff.

The vast majority of workers in the private sector don't get paid sick days, said Yussuff — especially front-line workers who are paid by the hour.

The labour congress is lobbying provincial governments to amend their employment standards so that all workers have access to paid sick leave. No provinces have that, Yussuf said.

Under New Brunswick's current rules, workers can get up to five days of unpaid leave if they've had their job for at least 90 days.

The federal government started a COVID relief program that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people out sick or self isolating. About 300,000 individuals had applied for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit as of Jan. 3, Yussuf said.

CBC News file photo
CBC News file photo

About those (occasionally) empty store shelves

The days of pandemic panic-buying of toilet paper may be over, but New Brunswick shoppers still sometimes find themselves staring at an empty grocery store shelf.

Why is that?

In an interview with Information Morning Fredericton on Wednesday, Jim Cormier, Atlantic director for the Retail Council of Canada, explained.

Cormier said there were occasional delays getting food shipped to certain stores even before the pandemic, particularly during stormy weather, "because it's winter, in New Brunswick."

He said there were challenges when the pandemic first broke out. Producers were getting sick and manufacturers, distributors, trucking companies were all affected by the pandemic.

But overall, he said, customers can go to a retail store and find products. And if there's a product they can't find, the product will usually be back on the shelf within a few days.

"It's amazing when you think about how ingrained it's become in us as Canadians that we just expect that if you go to a grocery in downtown Fredericton in the middle of January, you're always going to get kiwi fruit and bananas," he said.

"There are products of course that don't grow here, even during the best of times."

Two schools report cases

COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at two more New Brunswick schools.

Anglophone East school district said in a tweet Tuesday that a positive case was discovered at Edith Cavell School, a kindergarten to Grade 8 school on Park Street in Moncton.

The district said it was notified by Public Health about the new case, and the school will be closed Wednesday to allow Public Health to complete contact tracing.

Another case of COVID-19 was announced at Polyvalente-A.-M. Sormany High School in Edmundston.

Some students and staff have been asked to self-isolate, but the school remains open, said Luc Caron, superintendent of the Francophone Northwest School District.

Caron told Radio-Canada that orange phase guidelines are still in effect but with added cleaning measures.

Since students returned from Christmas break, 10 schools across the province have had confirmed cases of the respiratory virus.

Exposure notifications

Public Health identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights:

  • Jan. 6– AirCanada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:30 a.m.

  • Jan. 1 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:30 a.m.

Public Health also identified potential public exposure at the following locations:

  • Gusto Italian Grill & Bar, 130 Westmorland St., Moncton, on Jan, 3, 4 and 7, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Bo Diddley's Lounge,295 Collishaw St., on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (285 Collishaw St., Moncton)

  • Miss Cue pool hall,495 Mountain Rd., Moncton, Jan. 1 to 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.

  • Miss Cue pool hall,495 Mountain Rd., Moncton, Dec. 31 from 11 p.m. to Jan. 1 at 1:30 a.m.

  • Walmart, 4 Jagoe St., Atholville, on Dec. 30 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and on Dec. 31 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Moncton Squash Club, 71 Essex St., on Dec. 29, 30 and 31 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

  • Foggerz Five-O-Six, an e-cigarette store in Woodstock, has closed because of possible COVID-19 exposure.

If you were at any of these locations, and you have no symptoms of COVID-19, self-monitor and follow all Public Health guidelines. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and do not need to talk to a nurse, complete the self-assessment and get tested.

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:

  • A fever above 38 C.

  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough.

  • Sore throat.

  • Runny nose.

  • Headache.

  • New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.

  • 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.