A second New Brunswicker has died from a rare blood clot disorder associated with the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell announced Friday.
The person in their 50s received their first dose on April 11 and went to an emergency department with symptoms of a blood clot 17 days later, she said.
The individual was previously reported as being hospitalized and died "recently," said Russell, offering her condolences to the bereaved family and friends.
She did not indicate the zone in which the person lived.
Two other New Brunswickers suffered a vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine, but recovered.
"The risks associated with this product are rare but they are real, as we have seen today," Russell told the live COVID briefing.
But the risks remain minimal compared to the risks, complications and potential consequences of COVID-19, she stressed.
The news came as Public Health announced people aged 55 or older who received AstraZeneca as a first dose at least eight weeks ago are now eligible to receive a second dose of the vaccine, with their "informed consent."
"If you decide not to take the AstraZeneca booster, you can wait to get a second shot with another product," said Russell. "We expect to receive direction from the federal government soon on using another brand of vaccine."
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the other vaccines currently available in New Brunswick.
The province has roughly 3,500 doses of AstraZeneca in stock, which will expire on May 31. If the doses aren't used by then, they will be disposed of, Russell said.
About 43,000 New Brunswickers received AstraZeneca as their first vaccine dose.
"Many of those shots were administered prior to late March, when new evidence about rare post-vaccine blood clots led us to change our vaccination protocol," she said.
Russell said she's unaware of any other adverse events associated with AstraZeneca being investigated in the province.
New Brunswick continues to offer AstraZeneca as first doses to those 55 or older, or who are confined at home, and have provided their informed consent, depending on supply.
"If we are to prevent further outbreaks and limit the spread of the virus, we must get as many people vaccinated as we can as quickly as possible," said Russell. "We need to use every tool available to us to expand the reach of our vaccination program."
The risk of blood clots associated with AstraZeneca is currently estimated at one in 55,000 in Canada.
In New Brunswick, four people developed blood clots after about 43,000 doses of AstraZeneca were administered. That works out to one blood clot reaction for every 10,750 shots.
The risk of developing a blood clot after a second dose is reported as being roughly one in a million. "But that could change as more second doses are given," said Russell. "So we're going to keep monitoring that and we will provide that information to people who are getting their second dose with informed consent."
Russell participated in the briefing remotely from her home. She is isolating for 72 hours because of her connection with a school, where students, staff and household members have been asked to self-isolate, she explained.
"In this particular situation, it's unlikely that I have contracted COVID-19, but … it is vital that everyone follows Public Health guidance and advice. And that includes myself, the chief medical officer of health."
Earlier this month, a New Brunswicker in their 60s died after developing blood clots following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
127 active cases
New Brunswick has 127 active cases of COVID-19.
Of the 15 new cases announced Friday, nine are in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, pushing the total active cases in the region to 61.
Fredericton is battling a cluster of cases at the Delta Fredericton that has grown to 45, an outbreak at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation and Veterans Health Unit, positive cases at four schools and now two child-care facilities.
The majority of the cases are the highly contagious variant first reported in India, said Russell. The variant first reported in the U.K. is also circulating.
Several new potential public exposure notifications were also added to the already extensive list.
"We're watching this very closely. I mean, we're talking hour by hour," Russell said, describing the situation as concerning.
But for now, the region will remain at the yellow COVID alert level.
One of the reasons, she said, is because contact tracers have been able to establish links between almost all of the cases, and most of the spread has been among close contacts.
"We have seen other types of transmission where people were in public spaces as well. However, we have not seen community transmission at this point," Russell said.
In addition, the hospital still has capacity, with available ICU beds, and there are no long-term care homes affected.
If the situation worsens over the weekend with evidence of community spread or a spike of cases, the province will not hesitate to tighten restrictions, Russell said. "This can change literally overnight," she said.
Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said if there's a "major shift," or large numbers of people not following the rules, she wouldn't be surprised if the government moves the region to the stricter red alert level or even lockdown.
"It would be an obvious choice to make," she said.
The breakdown of the new cases is as follows:
Moncton region, Zone 1, one case:
A person 40-49.
This case is under investigation.
Fredericton region, Zone 3, nine cases:
A person 19 or under.
A person 20-29.
Four people 30-39.
A person 40-49.
A person 50-59.
A person 70-79.
Five cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases, three are travel-related and one is under investigation.
Bathurst region, Zone 6, four cases:
A person 30-39.
A person 40-49.
A person 50-59.
A person 60-69.
All four cases are travel-related. Three of the four cases are isolating out of the province.
Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case:
A person 20-29.
This case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.
Six people are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit. One New Brunswicker is hospitalized out of province in an intensive care unit.
New Brunswick has had 2,113 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 1,942 recoveries so far, and 43 COVID-related deaths.
A total of 321,482 COVID tests have been conducted, including 1,611 on Thursday.
As of Friday, 364,386 New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of vaccine. That's 52.6 per cent of the eligible population, aged 12 and over.
Health officials are urging caution this holiday long weekend.
"We know from past experience that this could lead to further spread of the COVID-19 virus," said Russell.
Any unnecessary travel is discouraged, she said, and people should continue to follow Public Health guidelines, such as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing and handwashing — even those who have received one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"If you feel unwell, please stay home," she said. "If you have been in a place where there has been public exposure, please get tested and please get tested even if you have mild symptoms."
Shephard said people should limit themselves to their household bubble and steady 15 contacts. "There's a pretty good chance that that's going to be enough for people to really enjoy themselves," she said.
The province announced all provincial parks and campgrounds are opening this weekend.
Shephard said campground operators have a responsibility to ensure that people are using their grounds properly and not having any large gatherings without a proper operational plan in place.
Count on summer
Premier Blaine Higgs told reporters Friday that loosening restrictions and plans to reopen the Atlantic bubble by July 1 will depend on the number of cases in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, remaining stable or dropping over the next few days.
"At the current projection of where we are, people should be planning on summer in New Brunswick," he said, committing to release a detailed plan within the next couple of weeks.
Shephard said she hopes to "tease out the road to green" by as early as next week "so that people can see that they have something to really push for.
"Get vaccinated, get us there."
Confirmed case at Kids Korral Day Care in Fredericton
A positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at the Kids Korral Day Care in Fredericton on Thursday and the building was closed Friday.
Public Health has directed the children, staff, and their families to self-isolate for 72 hours while contract tracing is conducted.
Families will be contacted directly with more information over the weekend, Public Health said in a news release.
"If you do not hear directly from Public Health, you have not been identified as a close contact," it said.
Atlantic COVID roundup
Nova Scotia reported two additional deaths related to COVID-19 Friday, as well as 84 new cases. The province has 1,028 active cases.
Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19 and an emerging cluster in the central part of the province. There are 70 active cases.
Prince Edward Island has one new case to bring its cumulative total to 200. The province now has 15 active cases.
New public exposures
Public Health has identified potential public exposures to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates:
Costco Wholesale, 140 Granite Dr., Moncton, on May 9, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Riverbend Golf Club, 541 Route 628, Durham Bridge, on May 15, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Penniac Ultramar, 22 Route 628, on May 15, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and between 2 and 4 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen St., Fredericton, on May 15 between 3 p.m., and May 16 at noon.
Tim Hortons, 54 Canada St., Saint-Quentin, on May 16, between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Tim Hortons, 1420 Vanier Blvd., Bathurst, on May 16, between 5 and 7 p.m.
Kingsway Restaurant, 367 King George Hwy., Miramichi, on May 8, between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Public Health is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even it they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to book an appointment.
People experiencing one or more symptom are also encouraged to get tested.
Previous public exposures
Scholten's, 325 Sunset Dr., Fredericton, on May 17 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Atlantic Superstore, 116 Main St., Fredericton, on May 16 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Progressive Credit Union, 395 Connell Rd., Woodstock, on May 13, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
A&W, 1018 Prospect St., Fredericton, on May 12, between noon and 2 p.m.
University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus, residence administration building, 20 Bailey Dr., Fredericton, on May 11 and May 12, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Sobeys, 463 Brookside Dr., Fredericton, on May 11, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Tony Pepperoni, 510 Brookside Dr., on May 11, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Drome, 301 Main St., on May 11, between 8:45 p.m. and 11 p.m.
NB Power, 515 King St., on May 12, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Sobeys Fast Fuel, 530 Brookside Dr., on May 12, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 12, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and May 13, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Giant Tiger, 1160 Smythe St., on May 13, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Scholten's, 325 Sunset Dr., on May 13, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
McMath Law Office, 406 Regent St., on May 14, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Fredericton Mitsubishi, 327 St. Mary's St., on May 14, between 10:45 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Pizza Delight, 243 St. Mary's St., on May 14, between noon and 2 p.m.
The Abbey Café, 546 Queen St., on May 14, between noon and 12:30 p.m.
Scotiabank, 490 King St., on May 14, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Sobeys, 1180 Prospect St., on May 14, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Cannon's Cross Pub, 15 Riverside Dr., on May 14, between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market, 665 George St., on May 15 between 10 a.m. and noon
Moores Clothing, 1150 Prospect St., on May 15, between 11 a.m. and noon.
Home Depot, 1450 Regent St., on May 15, between noon and 1 p.m.
Montana's, 6 Trinity Ave., on May 2, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Wolastoq Wharf, 527 Union St., on May 9, between noon and 2:30 p.m.
McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 14, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Pickle Jar Restaurant, 620 Queen St., from May 11 to May 16
Kubbyhole Craft Shop, 1879 Route 3, on May 7, between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Cal's Independent Grocer, 135 Otis Dr., on May 14, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Irving Big Stop Blue Canoe restaurant, 415 Nevers Rd., on May 14, between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following location and date in Edmundston:
Jean Coutu, 177 Victoria St., on May 15, between noon and 1 p.m.
Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights:
Air Canada Flight 314 – from Vancouver to Montreal, departed at 11:24 p.m. on May 11.
Air Canada Flight 8902 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 1:06 p.m. on May 12.
The province has also listed another flight with a passenger who has tested positive for COVID-19 on May 7.
Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11 a.m.
Other exposure notifications
Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 6 while on the following flights:
Air Canada Flight 396 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 6:50 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:43 p.m.
Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 10 while on the following flight.
Air Canada Flight 8946 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:47 p.m.
Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the following regions:
Pumphouse, 5 Orange Ln., Moncton, on May 4 between 8 and 10 p.m.
Staples, 233 Main St., Moncton, on May 5, between noon and 8 p.m.
Walmart Supercentre, 477 Paul St., Dieppe, on May 6, between 7 and 10 p.m.
Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 7, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Greco Pizza, 120 Killam Dr., Moncton, on May 5, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., May 3, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., and May 2, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 4, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université Ave., Moncton, on May 7, between 2-9:30 p.m., and May 6, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Saint John region:
Foodland, 1 Market Sq., Quispamsis, on May 3, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Circle K, 309 River Valley Dr., Grand Bay-Westfield, between 11:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7, and 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 8.
My Home Consignment, 5 Acorn St., Fredericton — May 8 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., May 7 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., May 6 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and May 5 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Sobeys, 1180 Prospect St., Fredericton, — May 8 between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Lunar Rogue, 625 King Ave., Fredericton — April 28 between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell — May 6 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and April 28 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Lunar Rogue, 625 King St., Fredericton, on April 28, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell, on May 6, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and April 28, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 5, at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
McDonald's Restaurant in Walmart, 125 Two Nations Crossing, on May 6, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Brainfix Clinic, 56 Avonlea Crt., on May 6.
Adica Massage Clinic, 152 King St., on May 6.
Williams Chiropractic, 169 Main St., on May 6.
Simms Home Hardware Building Centre, 190 King St., on May 6.
Costco Gas Bar, 5 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 6.
Massage Experts, 169 Dundonald St., on May 6, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on May 7, from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12.
STMR. 36 Restaurant – Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12.
Jack's Pizza, 379 King St., on May 7, at 1 p.m.
Mitch Clarke Skate Park, 116 Johnston Ave., on May 7, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Garrison Skatepark, York Street parking lot, on May 7, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
James Joyce Pub, 659 Queen St., on May 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
McDonald's Restaurant, 94 Main St., on May 7, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and May 8, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Princess Auto, 21 Trinity Ave., on May 8, from 8 a.m. to noon.
Fredericton Public Library, 12 Carleton St., on May 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Northside Market, 170 Main St., on May 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Irving Oil, 181 King St., on May 9, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Dollarama, 5 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 2 p.m.
NB Liquor, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m.
Home Sense, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m.
Tim Hortons drive-thru, Regent Street, on May 10, at 1:30 p.m.
Atlantic Superstore, 471 Smythe St, on May 10, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and May 11, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, 700 Priestman St., on May 10-11.
Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, 800 Priestman St., on May 10-11.
Veterans Health Unit, 680 Priestman St., on May 10-11.
Shoppers Drug Mart, 1040 Prospect St., on May 11, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Scott's Nursery, 2192 Route 102, on May 8, from 3 p.m. to 5 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.