N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 1 week with no new cases, province poised to hit double-dose target by July 27

·8 min read
The seven-day average for second doses is 10,560, as of Sunday, down from a high of 12,636 on July 1, said data cruncher Oliver Dueck. (CBC - image credit)
The seven-day average for second doses is 10,560, as of Sunday, down from a high of 12,636 on July 1, said data cruncher Oliver Dueck. (CBC - image credit)

New Brunswick marked one week Monday of no new cases of COVID-19, and the province is poised to reach its two-dose vaccination target six days ahead of schedule, before the end of the month, according to one data cruncher.

A total of 4,049 second doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered Sunday, the COVID-19 dashboard shows.

More than 353,600 New Brunswickers aged 12 and older, or 51 per cent of the eligible population, have now received two doses of a COVID vaccine.

About another 166,430 people still need to get their second shot.

Although Sunday's doses were fewer than half the 8,977 shots administered on Saturday, the seven-day average is still 10,560, said Oliver Dueck, a software developer based in Fredericton, who has been tracking the province's vaccine data for the past few months.

At the current pace, the province will reach its goal to have 75 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated by July 27, he said.

The target under the path to green is Aug. 2, New Brunswick Day.

Once the threshold is reached, the province will end the state of emergency mandatory order and lift all Public Health restrictions, provided COVID hospitalizations remain low and all health regions remain at the yellow COVID alert level.

As of Monday, many people who received a first dose hadn't seized the opportunity to get a second one when they became eligible. People can get their second dose after 28 days have passed since their first one.

Dueck said about a third of the people eligible for second doses still hadn't gone for one.

With the 481 first doses administered Sunday, the number of New Brunswckers who have received at least one dose inched up to 551,682, or 79.6 per cent of the eligible population, the COVID-19 dashboard shows.

Robert Short/CBC
Robert Short/CBC

The province is holding more mobile walk-in Moderna clinics this week. One is underway in Fredericton on Monday at the Kinsmen Club, 141 School St., until 7 p.m.

The other clinics include:

  • Fredericton — Marysville Walk-in Clinic, 231 Canada St., on Tuesday, between noon and 6 p.m.

  • Hillsborough — Kiwanis Community Centre, 47 Legion St., on Tuesday, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Perth-Andover — River Valley Civic Centre, 11 School St., on Thursday, between noon and 6 p.m.

  • Dorchester — Dorchester Veterans Community Hall, 4955 Main St., on Thursday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Plaster Rock — Tobique Lions Community Centre, 61 Everett Ln., on Friday, between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Salisbury — Salisbury Baptist Church, 3128 Main St., on Friday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. They 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.

Online immunization records

New Brunswick expects to have online COVID-19 immunization records by the end of July, the Department of Health announced Monday.

The information will be accessible through the MyHealthNB portal, where people can currently log in to access their COVID-19 screening test results.

But people should hold onto the paper record of immunization they receive following vaccination "as their official proof of vaccination," it said.

"Store it in a safe place, keep a copy and take a picture of it."

Effective Monday, people attending vaccination appointments will receive instructions to register for a MyHealthNB account, the department said in a news release.

For people who have already been vaccinated and don't have a MyHealthNB account, more details on the registration process will be provided in the coming weeks, it said.

5 active cases

New Brunswick has five active cases of COVID-19, Public Health said Monday.

One person in the province is hospitalized with the respiratory disease but is not in intensive care.

There have been 2,336 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick since the pandemic started, with 2,284 recoveries so far and 46 COVID-related deaths.

A total of 369,164 tests have been conducted, including 675 on Sunday.

Horizon urges 'diligence' in masking among staff, physicians

The Horizon Health Network issued a memo last week, urging all staff and physicians to be diligent about masking.

But a spokesperson says compliance is not a problem, and the memo was just a reminder.

"With the implementation of the modified screening process, we are pleased to report that mask compliance upon entry to Horizon has improved," acting chief human resource officer Erin Arsenault wrote in the internal memo, obtained by CBC News.

"But we need your help and your continued diligence as you move throughout your workplace.

"Please make sure you are wearing your masks at all times: when you're doing your tasks for the day, when you're relaxing on your break, and when you're working with colleagues."

The only exception, Arsenault said, is when people are seated, at least two metres from any other person and eating.

Shutterstock / Alliance Images
Shutterstock / Alliance Images

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, has said mask-wearing and physical distancing are two of the most important tools in the fight against COVID-19, Arsenault pointed out.

"We have seen how quickly an outbreak of COVID-19 can occur and how many people are affected by these outbreaks."

"Wearing masks in Horizon facilities and on Horizon property is mandatory," the memo states in bold text.

Completion of the self-screening questionnaire before entering and hand washing upon entry is also mandatory, it adds in bold.

Horizon continues to have "very high compliance" with mask wearing by staff and physicians, according to Margaret Melanson, vice-president of quality and patient-centred care.

"This reminder was only to reinforce that — as the province moves into the green phase — we have not yet reduced our precautions and continued vigilance is required," she said in an emailed statement.

"Horizon is very proud of the commitment our staff and physicians have demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in complying with infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols, ensuring the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and adhering to our directive around continuous masking."

Atlantic Chamber seeks extension of federal help

Businesses in the region are calling on Ottawa to extend federal programs to help them survive the pandemic.

The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce says its members want the emergency wage program and the emergency rent program to continue. Both are set to expire late in September.

Chamber CEO Sheri Somerville says many businesses are still struggling and need the help.

"The most pressing issues that remain for them are payroll. Forty-two per cent reported a concern with that," she told CBC's Rachel Cave.

"Second to that, it's their insurance and their business loans. That's what they're concerned about, carrying that debt and paying those bills."

CBC
CBC

Somerville says even with fewer border restrictions, businesses are still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

In a recent member survey, she says 63 per cent of respondents said they've seen a significant reduction in their revenues over the past year and a half.

The chamber represents more than 16,000 businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in the four Atlantic provinces.

Free bus rides to Saint John vaccine clinics

Saint John Transit continues to offer free bus rides to people travelling to and from vaccination clinics in the city.

Clinics are being held at Exhibition Park on Monday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

There is also a clinic at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal on Tuesday, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

During clinic hours, people boarding the bus need only inform the bus driver that they're going to or from a vaccination clinic to obtain free fare, the city said in a statement.

The clinics are only for people 18 or older and an appointment must be booked in advance through the Horizon Health Network.

A list of Saint John Transit routes and schedules can be found here.

Atlantic COVID roundup

Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 on Monday, and has 37 active cases.

Prince Edward Island has no new cases and one active case.

Newfoundland and Labrador has not updated its numbers. Monday is a government holiday, Orangemen's Day. At last report, there were 16 active cases.

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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