N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Outbreak at Maine paper mill, vaccines start rolling out

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Three employees at a paper mill in Madawaska, Maine, just across the border from Edmundston, have tested positive for COVID-19, including a worker that lives in New Brunswick.

The Twin Rivers Paper Mill confirmed the cases to Radio-Canada in an email from Vice-President of Development, Brian McAlary.

As a result of contact tracing, a further five workers living in Edmundston have also been asked to self-isolate, said McAlary,

Public Health said they are managing and investigating any cases of COVID-19 involving New Brunswick workers, but the investigation about the larger outbreak would be led by Maine's Centre for Disease Control.

"We have reached out to Maine CDC to collaborate and share appropriate information required for investigation purposes," said Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for public health.

There have been no positive cases of COVID-19 at the Twin Rivers facilities based in Edmundston or Plaster Rock, according to McAlary.

The Edmundston region, Zone 4, is the only health zone in the province in the orange phase of COVID-19 recovery.

First vaccines given in Miramichi

The first New Brunswickers were vaccinated against COVID-19 at clinics at the Miramichi Regional Hospital Saturday.

Pauline Gauvin, an 84-year-old Miramichi resident, received the first of 1,950 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses the province received in its first shipment.

Those doses will be given to people in high priority groups, including long-term care home staff and residents, health workers and people over the age of 85.

While the eyes of the province were on Gauvin Saturday, she said the whole procedure was a piece of cake.

"I'm used to getting needles," said Gauvin after getting the first shot.

Vaccines will continue to be given out Sunday to those in the province's first-priority groups.

The province says more doses of the vaccine are on the way, with 3,900 scheduled to arrive next week, 3,900 on the week of Jan. 4 and "regular deliveries" starting during the week of Jan. 11.

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:

  • A fever above 38 C.

  • A 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.