N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Public Health reports record number of cases on Christmas Day

·4 min read
All rapid test pickup locations are closed on select days over the coming week. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC - image credit)
All rapid test pickup locations are closed on select days over the coming week. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC - image credit)

Public Health is reporting 639 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick for the last three days.

On Christmas Day, New Brunswick reported a record-high of 309 new cases. On Sunday, 179 cases were reported, and 151 cases today.

There are a total of 35 people in hospital, including 14 in the intensive care unit.

Four new deaths were reported. Two people between the ages of 80 and 89 were from zones 1 and 3, while the other two were between the ages of 70 and 79 and were from zones 4 and 7.

As of Monday, 82.8 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; 89.9 per cent have received their first dose, while 18.3 per cent have received a third dose.

Province reporting testing backlog

Public Health says the province is dealing with assessment-centre delays due to increased demand for PCR tests.

In the Saint John region, additional resources and hours are being added to clear the backlog of 2,100 requests. Priority groups, such as Public Health referrals, health care workers, and those living in vulnerable settings, are being tested within 72 hours. Symptomatic individuals and those with a positive point-of-care test result are being tested within 120 hours.

In the Fredericton region, a backlog of 640 requests is leading to testing of priority groups within 24 to 48 hours, while symptomatic individuals and those with a positive point of care test results are being tested within 96 hours.

All rapid test pickup locations are closed on select days over the coming week.

Mobile and hub rapid test pickup locations will be closed until Tuesday and between Jan. 1 to 3.

Breakdown of new cases

CBC News
CBC News

The following is a breakdown the new cases:

Moncton region, Zone 1

  • 188 cases

Saint John region, Zone 2

  • 278 cases

Fredericton region, Zone 3

  • 66 cases

Edmunston region, Zone 4

  • 60 cases

Campbellton region, Zone 5

  • 10 cases

Bathurst region, Zone 6

  • 14 cases

Miramichi region, Zone 7

  • 23 cases

Province moves to stricter level at midnight

New Brunswick is moving to stricter level two COVID-19 restrictions at 11:59 p.m. on Monday as the province sees record-high infection numbers.

There will be a pause on new case numbers again from Jan. 1 to 2, resuming Jan. 3.

Last week, the province and Public Health outlined the following measures:

  • Household contacts must be limited to a maximum of a steady 10 individuals.

  • Dining-in is permitted in restaurants, but they must operate at 50 per cent capacity and request proof of vaccination.

  • Restaurants, retail stores, malls, businesses, gyms, salons and spas, and entertainment centres may continue to operate, but at 50 per cent capacity and with two metres of distance between patrons.

  • For public gatherings, venues cannot have events with more than 150 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

  • Faith venues may operate at 50 per cent capacity and with physical distancing, and choirs are not permitted.

  • All travellers, including New Brunswickers returning to the province, must register or have a multi-use travel pass. Travellers arriving by air will be provided with a rapid test kit.

  • Unvaccinated people entering the province must isolate and be tested on day 10. International travellers must follow federal testing and isolation guidelines and must be tested on day five and day 10.

  • Travellers must follow Public Health measures when in New Brunswick, including wearing a mask and staying within a steady list of 10 contacts.

  • Employees are encouraged to work from home.

COVID-19 in the Maritimes

Anyone who's not been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure and who has symptoms should get a COVID-19 lab test. They can book an appointment online or call Tele-Care 811, and must isolate while waiting for test results.

It can take up to 14 days to test positive after being exposed to COVID-19, so even if results come back negative, you should continue to self-monitor for any symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

Also, avoid visiting settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and shelters, during that 14-day period.

For anyone fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure, Public Health recommends they monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the possible exposure and get a COVID lab test if symptoms develop.

There's no need to isolate while waiting for test results.

What to do if you have a symptom

Anyone concerned about having COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue and difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

If exhibiting any of those symptoms, stay home, call 811 or your doctor and follow instructions.

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