COVID-19 has claimed the life of another New Brunswicker, pushing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the province to 38, Public Health announced Monday, along with 15 new cases.
A person in their 90s in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, has died "as a result of COVID-19," according to a news release.
The person resided at Pavillon Beau-Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls, where there's an outbreak involving the variant first reported in South Africa.
Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said she is saddened by the news.
"I join all New Brunswickers in sharing sincere condolences with this person's loved ones during this difficult time," she said in a statement.
On Sunday, Public Health announced another resident of the special care home, someone in their 80s, had died in hospital "as a result of COVID-19."
With the 15 new cases, there are now 142 active cases of respiratory disease in the province. Six people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.
The breakdown of the new cases is as follows:
Moncton region, Zone 1: one case:
A person 30 to 39
This case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.
Saint John region, Zone 2: three cases:
A person 30 to 39
A person 40 to 49
A person 50 to 59
One case is under investigation, one case is travel-related and the other is a contact of a previously confirmed case.
Fredericton region, Zone 3: five cases:
A person under 19
A person 30 to 39
A person 40 to 49
Two people 60 to 69
Three of the cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case and two are travel-related.
Edmundston region, Zone 4: three cases:
Two people 50 to 59
A person 90 or over
All three cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case and are linked to the outbreak at Pavillon Beau-Lieu.
Campbellton region, Zone 5: one case:
A person 50 to 59
This case is travel-related.
Bathurst region, Zone 6: two cases:
A person 40 to 49
A person 50 to 59
Both cases are travel-related.
New Brunswick has had 1,954 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started just over a year ago. There have been 1,773 recoveries so far.
A total of 295,822 tests have been conducted, including 1,339 on Sunday.
UNB residence elevator eyed as possible source
Public Health is investigating whether an elevator could be the source of transmission in the University of New Brunswick's Fredericton campus residence COVID-19 outbreak that still stands at 12 positive cases, as of Monday.
Last week, Public Health and UNB looked into the ventilation system at Magee House and determined "the risk is minimal," said Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane.
"Public Health officials are now focusing their efforts to determine surface contacts within the elevator as the potential source of transmission," he said in an email.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, COVID-19 spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols (smaller droplets) created when an infected person talks, sings, shouts, coughs or sneezes.
COVID-19 can also spread by touching something that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands, the agency's website states.
The outbreak at Magee House involves the variant first reported in India, which has two mutations that make it "more concerning than all the others," Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell has said. It is "very, very, very aggressive in terms of being contagious and causing more severe symptoms."
Magee House is a seven-storey apartment-style residence designed for mature students, some of whom have families.
The residents remain in isolation as Public Health deals with the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the UNB campus reopened Monday, as did the adjacent St Thomas University campus and nearby New Brunswick Community College campus, more than a week after they moved to essential services only in response to the outbreak.
Faculty, staff and students can now go on campus as long as they follow relevant operational guidelines.
"COVID is difficult," said Paul Mazerolle, president of the University of New Brunswick. "The uncertainty creates concern and we're not through this."
Monday marks day nine of the Magee House lockdown, and a third round of mass testing was scheduled for residents and staff on Sunday. As of Monday afternoon, Public Health was still awaiting the results.
Alex Hill-Stosky, who lives with his family in Magee House, said many people in the building are either anxious or angry because of the lockdown.
"A lot of people feel we are test subjects rather than people," said the engineering student.
Mazerolle said he understands people are concerned and worried about their personal freedoms, but it's important to limit the spread of the virus.
"To minimize the potential spread, unfortunately people's movements need to be restricted for a limited period of time. … If we didn't restrict movement, we could be in a much worse situation."
Students have also expressed concerns over the residence's ventilation system. Mazerolle said the ventilation system has been checked twice and deemed safe by engineers with Public Health and the Department of Environment.
"From what I've been told by the experts, there's no evidence to suggest that the ventilation system is putting people at risk for COVID-19.
Mazerolle expects Magee House to reopen on Saturday.
"We're looking forward to this coming to an end," he said.
Public Health said the isolation period for Magee House individuals who have tested negative throughout the process could end Saturday.
Meanwhile, the isolation for residents and staff of UNB's Elizabeth Parr-Johnston residence could be lifted as early as Wednesday, depending on the results of retests taking place Monday, said Public Health.
So far, all test results have been negative.
George Street Middle School reopens
George Street Middle School in Fredericton reopened Monday, six days after students, staff and their families were urged by Public Health to self-isolate last week following a confirmed case of COVID-19.
In a letter to parents on Sunday, Public Health said students and staff can return to school, and their families can return to work, with the exception of those who have been told by Public Health to self-isolate for 14 days.
"Custodial services have been through the school disinfecting high touch areas," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health.
"Everyone who has not been identified as a close contact should feel confident to return to normal activities."
The George Street and UNB cases are linked, Public Health said earlier.
Voting in self-isolation
Elections New Brunswick is encouraging people who are under COVID-19 isolation and haven't voted in the May 10 municipal election yet but wish to do so to contact their local returning office to find out what options are available.
With election day less than a week away, the options available are starting to decrease, said Kim Poffenroth, municipal election officer.
"Our municipal returning officers will gladly work with these individuals to determine the best way to arrange for them to vote, based on their current situation," she said in a statement.
Options may include voting by mail, if time permits, curbside voting, and other forms of contactless voting.
"We will do our utmost to make sure every New Brunswicker is provided with the opportunity to vote, while at the same time respecting public health rules and protecting the thousands of people working for us during these elections," Poffenroth said.
New possible exposures in Fredericton
Public Health has identified new possible exposures to the coronavirus in Fredericton. People who have been in a public exposure location can be tested, even if they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or by calling Tele-Care 811.
Jungle Jim's, 1168 Smythe St., on April 21 between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Habitat for Humanity Restore, 800 St. Mary St., on April 22 between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Other possible exposures
April 29 between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Papa John's Pizza (555 Dieppe Blvd., Dieppe)
April 29 between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart Pizza (320 Elmwood Dr., Moncton)
Saint John region:
April 28 between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (195 King St., St. Stephen)
April 26 between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Save Easy (232 Water St., Saint Andrews)
April 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Birch Grove Restaurant (34 Brunswick St., St. George)
April 20 between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Dr. Michael Murphy's Office (6 Queen St. W., St. Stephen)
April 23 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., and April 22 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Winners (9 Riocan Ave.)
April 23 between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – Pizza Hut (1180 Smythe St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Petsmart (1124 Prospect St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Charm Diamond Centres (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – La Senza (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – Costco (25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton)
April 23 and April 22 – Radisson Kingswood Hotel & Suites (41 Kingswood Way, Hanwell)
April 22 between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. – Unplugged (418 Queen St., Fredericton)
April 22 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – Bed Bath & Beyond (15 Trinity Ave., Fredericton)
April 21 between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – Old Navy (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 21 between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – Chapters (Regent Mall, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 21 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Moffitts Convenience (1879 Rte. 3, Harvey Station)
April 22 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. – The Snooty Fox (66 Regent St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and April 22 between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – HomeSense, (18 Trinity Dr., Fredericton)
April 23 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. – Save Easy Independent Grocer (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
April 23 – Canada Post (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
April 22 and April 23 – Jolly Farmer (56 Crabbe Rd., Northampton)
April 24 between 10 a.m. and noon – YMCA (570 York St., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Walmart Supercentre (1399 Regent St, Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Princess Auto (21 Trinity Ave., Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Home Depot (Corbett Centre, Fredericton)
April 23 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Swiss Chalet (961 Prospect Ave., Fredericton)
April 22 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Canadian Tire (1110 Smythe Ave., Fredericton)
April 22 between 10 a.m. and noon. – Digital World (524 Smythe Ave., Fredericton)
April 22 between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – Tim Horton's (1713 Woodstock Rd., Fredericton)
April 22 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – Costco (25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., Fredericton)
From April 19 to April 22 – Canada Post (135 Otis Dr., Nackawic)
April 21 between noon and 4 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (1040 Prospect St., Fredericton)
May 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., April 30 between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 27 between noon and 12:30 p.m. – Legresley Esso (15 Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
May 1 between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Rossy (344 Canada Rd. Unit K, Saint-Quentin)
May 1 between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. - Ameublement Milix (344 Canada Rd., Saint-Quentin)
May 1 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – Boutique du Dollar 12345 (116A Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
April 29 between 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. – Familiprix (116A Notre-Dame Rd., Kedgwick)
May 1 between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., April 29 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., April 28 between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – Bonichoix (4 Camille Rd., Kedgwick)
April 28 between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Irving (272 Canada Rd., Saint-Quentin)
April 25 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – St. Patrick Church (2154, Rte. 130, Grand Falls)
April 27 between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., April 28 between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., April 26 between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. – Hill Top Motel & Restaurant (131 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 28 between 5 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. – Irving Big Stop (121 Route 255, Grand Falls)
April 27 between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and on April 26 between 3 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. – Walmart, (494 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 27 between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. – Grand Falls General Hospital
April 26 between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. – Blue's Printing Shop, (182 Portage St., Grand Falls)
April 26 between noon and 12:15 p.m. – St-Onge Industrial Supplies (Belanger St., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – Canadian Tire (383 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and April 24 between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (240 Madawaska Rd., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – Foodland Grand Falls (535 Everard H. Daigle, Grand Falls)
April 26 between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and April 25 between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. – Toner Home Hardware (445 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls)
April 26 between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. – Merritt Press (208 Main St., Grand Falls)
April 28 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 1:05 a.m.
April 29 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:24 a.m.
April 24 - Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 9:04 p.m.
April 22 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 12:52 a.m.
April 22 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:27 a.m.
April 20 - Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11:45 a.m.
April 20 - Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:01 p.m.
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:
Fever above 38 C.
New cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
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.