N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 2 new travel-related cases, nearly 57% of eligible population double-dosed

·7 min read
Robert Morgan of Saint John, right, was happy to get his second COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Jason Steeves at a pop-up clinic being offered at the Crescent Valley Resource Centre in the city's north end Thursday. 'Goodbye COVID,' he said. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)
Robert Morgan of Saint John, right, was happy to get his second COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Jason Steeves at a pop-up clinic being offered at the Crescent Valley Resource Centre in the city's north end Thursday. 'Goodbye COVID,' he said. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)

Public Health reported two more travel-related cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Friday and issued a reminder about requirements for travelling into and outside the province.

The two new cases in the Moncton region, Zone 1, come on the heels of seven travel-related cases announced Thursday that broke a nine-day streak with no new cases.

No information about the vaccination status of the individuals, where they're from or whether they were isolating at the time they tested positive will be released for privacy reasons, Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane has said.

He did confirm, however, that the two cases announced Friday are not related to Thursday's cases.

"Travellers returning to or coming to New Brunswick from outside Canada must follow both provincial requirements for people entering New Brunswick as well as the federal government's requirements for people entering Canada," Public Health said in a news release.

"Similarly, New Brunswickers travelling to another province, territory or country must follow the requirements of that jurisdiction."

More information about travel requirements is available online.

Nearly 395,000 New Brunswickers aged 12 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Another 12,759 administered second doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been added to the COVID-19 dashboard, pushing the two-dose vaccination rate to 56.9 per cent, up from 55 per cent on Thursday.

At least 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers must receive both doses before the province moves to the green phase of COVID recovery and lifts all Public Health restrictions, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard has said.

The province has set a target of Aug. 2, New Brunswick Day, to reach that threshold.

Meanwhile, the first-dose vaccination rate now stands at 80.3 per cent after 1,506 people rolled up their sleeves Thursday to get their first shot, the dashboard shows. That's up from 80.1 per cent Thursday.

Ray Harris, a data analyst in Fredericton who maintains a COVID-19 tracking website, observed the split between second and first doses has been exactly 89.4 per cent to 10.6 per cent for four of the past five days.

"#ItsJustWeird," he posted on Twitter.

Monday was the odd day out at 88.4 per cent to 11.6 per cent.

The province has been holding a series of mobile walk-in Moderna clinics this week to help make getting first and second doses more convenient, and has scheduled more clinics for next week.

On Friday, clinics were held in Plaster Rock and Salisbury.

Next week, the following clinics will be held:

  • Saint John — Bowlarama, 248 Lancaster Ave., on Monday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Drummond — Community Hall, 1412 Tobique Rd., on Monday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Clair — Saint-Francois-d'Assise, 678 Rue Prinicipale, on Tuesday, between noon and 6 p.m.

  • Village of Gagetown — Recreation Centre, 38 Mill Rd., on Wednesday, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

  • Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska — Municipal Hall, 75 Rue Prinicipale, on Wednesday, between noon and 6 p.m.

  • Kedgwick — La Salle du Citoyen, 4 St-Jean St., on Thursday, between noon and 6 p.m.

  • Southampton — Middle Southampton Community Hall, 1782 Route 105, on Thursday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • St. Martins — Four Seasons Complex, 2551 Route 111, on Friday, between noon and 5 p.m.

  • Saint-Léonard — Ambulance New Brunswick station, 523 St-Jean St., Unit A, on Friday, between noon and 6 p.m.

Anyone 12 or older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and anyone who has received a first dose can get a second dose after 28 days. They don't have to wait for the 28 days to pass to schedule their appointment, Russell stressed.

People can book an appointment online through a Horizon or Vitalité health network clinic or through a participating pharmacy.

They are asked to bring their Medicare card, a signed consent form and, for those receiving a second dose, a copy of the record of immunization they received after getting their first dose.

People who booked an appointment but were able to get vaccinated sooner elsewhere are asked to cancel the appointment they no longer need.

8 active cases

Two more people have recovered from COVID-19 since Thursday, Public Health reported Friday.

With the two new confirmed cases in the Moncton region, Zone 1 — a person in their 20s and a person in their 40s — the province's active case count stands at eight.

No one is hospitalized with the respiratory disease.

A total of 372,206 COVID-19 tests have been conducted to date, including 713 on Thursday.

New Brunswick has had 2,345 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, with 2,290 recoveries so far and 46 COVID-related deaths.

P.E.I. opens to Canadians before reaching vaccination goal

Prince Edward Island will open up Sunday to Canadian travellers from outside the Atlantic region, even though it hasn't met its vaccination goal.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said she expects 40 per cent of eligible Islanders will be fully vaccinated by the end of the week.

That's when fully vaccinated Canadians who have a PEI Pass will be able to enter without isolating.

The province was aiming to have half of Islanders aged 12 and older doubled-dosed before taking this step.

CBC News: Compass
CBC News: Compass

Morrison previously said that target was an important factor in her comfort about further opening the border 10 days ahead of the original planned date of July 28.

"I certainly will be less worried knowing that if there are cases of COVID, we'll be better protected."

On Thursday, Morrison said she thinks opening up is a "positive step."

"We are all trying to manoeuvre our way and walk our way out of this pandemic," Morrison said in an interview with Louise Martin on CBC News: Compass. "I'm sure I share with many Islanders that feeling of wanting to reconnect with many people outside Atlantic Canada."

The province has received more than 24,000 PEI Pass applications from outside Atlantic Canada as of Thursday.

Canadians from outside the Atlantic region who have only one vaccine dose will be required to isolate for eight days and receive a negative test before leaving isolation.

P.E.I. also dropped its mandatory mask requirement for most indoor spaces last week.

Horizon explains mask policy

The Horizon Health Network's mask policy for visitors has raised some eyebrows and some tempers throughout the pandemic.

Visitors are asked during the screening process to remove their community mask when entering a hospital and are given a medical mask to wear instead — even if their own mask is a superior N95 mask, as one woman recently discovered.

Horizon's masking policy aligns with guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada regarding personal protective equipment use during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Merita MacMillan, regional infection prevention and control lead for the regional health authority.

Since March, members of the public have been provided with a medical mask "to ensure all masks being worn in our health care facilities meet consistent standards to help mitigate the risk of potential spread and protect the health and safety of our patients and staff," she said in an emailed statement.

Shutterstock/Harry Wedzinga
Shutterstock/Harry Wedzinga

MacMillan did not directly respond to questions about the potential risks posed by requiring people to remove their masks in a room where others have just removed theirs, given the potential for airborne transmission.

She did say medical exemptions are granted for those individuals who are required to wear an alternate mask or respirator.

Atlantic COVID roundup

Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and has eight active cases.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases Friday. There are 46 active cases in the province, all but one — a person in the Eastern health region — aboard two ships anchored in Conception Bay.

Prince Edward Island has no active cases, as of Friday.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness 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.

People with one of those symptoms should stay at home, call Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor, and follow instructions.

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