N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 15 new cases, case confirmed at Zone 1 school

·13 min read
École Notre-Dame remains open after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at the school on Thursday, Public Health said. (École Notre-Dame - image credit)
École Notre-Dame remains open after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at the school on Thursday, Public Health said. (École Notre-Dame - image credit)

There are 15 new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick and a positive case at a school in the Moncton region, Zone 1, Public Health announced Friday.

A case of COVID-19 was confirmed at École Notre-Dame in Notre-Dame on Thursday, but the school remains open, according to a news release.

Students and staff should continue to attend school, it said.

"If you or a family member have been in close contact with this case, you will be notified by Public Health for contact tracing. If you do not hear directly from Public Health, you have not been identified as a close contact."

Of the 15 new cases, nine involve workers who are isolating outside the province, Public Health said. Their cases are included in the totals of the health zones of their home communities.

There are now 127 active cases in the province.

Four people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.

New Brunswick has had 1,915 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,751 recoveries and 36 COVID-related deaths.

A total of 289,965 tests have been conducted, including 1,824 on Thursday.

The 15 new cases of COVID-19 announced Friday put the provincial total of active cases at 127,
The 15 new cases of COVID-19 announced Friday put the provincial total of active cases at 127,(CBC)

The breakdown of the new cases is as follows:

Moncton region, Zone 1: one case

  • A person 19 or under.

This case is travel-related.

Saint John region, Zone 2: three cases

  • Two people 20-29

  • A person 50-59

Two of these cases are travel-related and the other case is under investigation.

Fredericton region, Zone 3: three cases

  • Two people 19 or under

  • A person 40-49

One case is under investigation, one is a contact of a previously confirmed case, and the other is travel-related.

Edmundston region, Zone 4: one case

  • A person 40-49

This case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

Bathurst region, Zone 6: four cases

  • A person 20-29

  • Three people 50-59

All four cases are travel-related.

Miramichi region, Zone 7: three cases

  • Three people 50-59

Two of these cases are travel-related and one is under investigation.

Outbreak at UNB's Magee House climbs to 12

A COVID-19 outbreak at Magee House residence, at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, has climbed to 12, Public Health said Friday.

Residents, family members and staff of the 101-unit apartment-style residence were retested on Wednesday, will be tested again on Sunday, and then again next Wednesday, according to a news release.

The outbreak, which was declared on Monday, involves the COVID variant first reported in India, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell confirmed Thursday.

It has been linked to a positive case of COVID-19 at George Street Middle School in Fredericton, which has 900 students, staff and their families isolating, she said.

Isolation for residents of UNB Fredericton's Magee House residence is expected to continue until May 8.
Isolation for residents of UNB Fredericton's Magee House residence is expected to continue until May 8.(Ed Hunter/CBC)

Magee House is for mature students, some of whom may have school-age children, according to the university's website.

So far, no new cases have been confirmed at the middle school, which remains closed but is expected to reopen Monday if retests of some students and staff over the weekend come back negative, Public Health said.

All staff, students and their families must continue to self-isolate until midnight on Sunday, to allow for contact tracing and for testing. Anyone identified as a close contact will have to complete a full 14-day self-isolation.

Meanwhile, all residents and staff at UNB's Elizabeth Parr-Johnston residence have tested negative so far. They were tested on Tuesday, with retesting scheduled for Monday and Thursday.

Residents of both UNB buildings remain in isolation, which is expected to continue until May 8.

COVID test booking offline 90 minutes this Sunday

The province's website to request a COVID-19 test will be offline for updates Sunday between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Public Health said Friday.

The system will be back online after 6:30 p.m., it said.

People can also request a test by calling Tele-Care 811.

Trudeau approves help for 3 long-term care homes

The federal government has approved New Brunswick's request for assistance at long-term care homes struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.

The Red Cross will assist in up to three homes until the end of June, he said.

No other details were released.

Health Department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said the province will, through a partnership with the Red Cross, strengthen its provincial rapid outbreak management Team, known as PROMT, in supporting long-term care outbreak management.

"Red Cross will support the PROMT response by providing non-clinical support aides through the aid of residents' nutritional support, light cleaning and promote the health and well-being of residents during an outbreak," Macfarlane said in an emailed statement.

This partnership will allow for the optimization of the clinical resources available, he said.

"The Red Cross provides trained and experienced staff who are able to respond quickly. Our past experience has shown us that the ability to respond quickly decreases the risk to our most vulnerable, and this partnership with the Red Cross will enhance that."

The Red Cross will help New Brunswick respond quickly to COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes, which will decrease the risk to the province's most vulnerable, Health Department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said.
The Red Cross will help New Brunswick respond quickly to COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes, which will decrease the risk to the province's most vulnerable, Health Department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said.(CBC)

Members of the Red Cross are with PROMT now at the outbreak at Pavillon Beau Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls, in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, Macfarlane said.

On Tuesday, 21 new cases were announced at Pavillon Beau-Lieu in Grand Falls, including 14 residents and seven staff.

The outbreak involves the COVID variant first detected in South Africa, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said.

"A large number" of the home's residents had previously received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and as of Tuesday, those who had tested positive were exhibiting "very mild symptoms," Russell had said.

No more COVID patients in Edmundston hospital

The Edmundston Regional Hospital has no more COVID-19 patients, after weeks of being at capacity in its ability to care for them during the peak of an outbreak in Zone 4, the Vitalité Health Network announced Friday.

Not all of them have been discharged, however, confirmed Vitalité spokesperson Thomas Lizotte.

"Some of them have recovered but [are] still in hospital for other issues and no longer contagious," he said in an emailed statement.

He did not say how many.

On Monday, the hospital had five patients in the COVID unit and two COVID patients in intensive care, both of them on respirators.

General patient visits remain prohibited, Vitalité said Friday.
General patient visits remain prohibited, Vitalité said Friday.(Radio-Canada)

The hospital will gradually increase its outpatient services as well as the number of surgeries over the next few days, the regional health authority said in a statement.

Patient visits are now allowed for designated support persons, but general visits remain prohibited.

The emergency department remained open throughout the outbreak and region's lockdown for people who required emergency care and wanted to see a doctor.

Vitalité continues to request that people whose health condition does not require urgent care make an appointment with their family doctor or nurse practitioner, consult with their community pharmacist, visit a walk-in clinic or call Tele-Care 811.

Just over three weeks ago, the variant of COVID-19 first reported in the U.K. was hitting the Edmundston area "with unprecedented strength," Vitalité president and CEO Dr. France Desrosiers had said.

Of the 162 active cases of COVID-19 in the province at the time, 133 were in the Edmundston region.

The hospital's intensive care unit was "at capacity in its ability to provide safe care to patients on respirators," and two COVID patients had to be transferred to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton.

Faced with a surge of COVID-19 patients who required hospitalization, the regional health authority announced it had "no choice" but to temporarily divert new patients to other hospitals.

Higgs hopeful for bubble by July

Premier Blaine Higgs is "hopeful" the Atlantic region will see the travel bubble resume by July.

"If these vaccines roll out the way they are right now, we should," he told CBC's Information Morning Fredericton on Friday.

The four Atlantic premiers had planned to reopen the bubble on May 3, but in a joint statement issued Wednesday said talks were suspended, given COVID-19 outbreaks in the region, accelerated by emerging variants of concern.

The four Atlantic premiers have said they remain optimistic that the Atlantic bubble, which allows travel among the four Atlantic provinces without the need to self-isolate, can resume by summer.
The four Atlantic premiers have said they remain optimistic that the Atlantic bubble, which allows travel among the four Atlantic provinces without the need to self-isolate, can resume by summer.(Kate Letterick/CBC)

"Premiers will revisit the reopening of the Atlantic travel bubble when the threat of further outbreaks has been reduced, based on advice from the region's Chief Medical Officers of Health," the statement from the Council of Atlantic Premiers said.

The premiers said they remain optimistic the bubble — which provided unrestricted regional travel from July to November 2020 — can resume by summer.

The bubble was initially expected to reopen on April 19, but was delayed until May 3, based on regional case numbers.

Newest exposure notifications

Public Health has identified the sites, dates and times of new possible public exposures. People who were at these sites are eligible to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

Fredericton:

  • HomeSense, 18 Trinity Dr., on April 22, between 1 and 6 p.m. and April 23, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Grand Falls:

  • Hill Top Motel & Restaurant, 131 Madawaska Rd. between April 22 and April 26.

  • Atlantic Superstore, 240 Madawaska Rd. on April 24, between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. and on April 26 between 10:30 and 11 a.m.

  • Toner Home Hardware, 445 Broadway Blvd. on April 25, between 3:30 and 4 p.m. and on April 26, between 10 and 10:30 a.m.

  • Merritt Press, 208 Main St. on April 26, between 9:45 and 10 a.m.

  • Blue's Printing Shop, 182 Portage St. on April 26, between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m.

  • St-Onge Industrial Supplies, Belanger St. on April 26, between noon and 12:15 p.m.

  • Canadian Tire, 383 Madawaska Rd. on April 26, between 11 and 11:30 a.m.

  • Foodland Grand Falls, 535 Everard H. Daigle on April 26, between 10:30 and 11 a.m.

  • Walmart, 494 Madawaska Rd. on April 26, between 3 and 7:15 p.m. and on April 27, between 8:30 and 11 a.m.

  • Grand Falls General Hospital on April 27, between 12:30 and 1 p.m.

  • Irving Big Stop, 121 Route 255, on April 28, between 5 and 5:15 a.m.

Edmundston:

  • Grey Rock Hotel, 110 Chief Joanna Blvd. between April 14 and April 15.

Other possible public exposures

Public Health has identified the sites, dates and times of possible public exposure in four regions. People who were at these sites are eligible to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

Fredericton region:

  • April 24 between 10 a.m. and noon - YMCA (570 York St., 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 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)

  • 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)

Moncton region:

  • April 12 between 5:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – emergency department – Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre (330 Université Ave., Moncton)

  • April 12 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. – X-ray department – Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre (330 Université Ave., Moncton)

  • April 14 between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. – Urban Planet, Walmart and H&M – CF Champlain (477 Paul St., Dieppe)

Saint John region:

  • Holy Spirit Parish (Saint Matthews worship site), 45 Dollard Dr., Saint John, on Sunday, April 18, between 11 a.m. and noon. The church has closed for two weeks as a preventive measure, and St. Rose of Lima Church (part of Holy Spirit Parish) will also be closed for the next two weeks, until May 8-9.

  • Service New Brunswick, 15 King Square North, on April 15 between 3 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

  • Rocky's Sports Bar, 7 Market Square, on April 15 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Edmundston region:

  • E.& P. Sénéchal Center, Vitalité Health Network vaccination clinic, 60 Ouellette St., Grand Falls, on Monday, April 19, between 1:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. .m.; and on April 12, between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Public Health also identified travellers who may have been infected while on the following flights:

  • 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.

  • April 15 - Air Canada Flight 8919 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:56 p.m.

  • April 15 – Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7:08 p.m.

  • April 15 – Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 11:53 a.m.

  • April 14 - Air Canada Flight 8970 – from Ottawa to Montreal, departed at 6:28 a.m.

  • April 14 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:14 a.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.

  • 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.