N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 18 new cases, 2nd pandemic election begins with advance polls

·6 min read
There are advance polls today for New Brunswick's municipal election. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
There are advance polls today for New Brunswick's municipal election. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

New Brunswickers are beginning to cast ballots in advance polls on Saturday as the province kicks off its second pandemic election.

The start of the election comes as the province reports 18 new cases of COVID-19.

The municipal election, postponed last year in response to COVID-19, will be held on May 10 in most regions with advance polls being held today.

Residents of some northwest communities will vote on May 25 after Elections New Brunswick suspended the election while the area was under lockdown. The region was moved to orange-phase restrictions on Wednesday.

Municipalities impacted include Edmundston, Haut-Madawaska, Lac Baker, Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska and Saint-Léonard. Advance polls in those areas will be held on May 15 and May 17.

Results for the entire province will be announced on May 25 after polls close in the northwest.

The delay is a result of recent legislation to allow the suspension of nominations and voting in a particular zone in the event of a lockdown.

New Brunswick staged a provincial election last September.

141 active cases

New Brunswick has 141 active cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday's update. Five people are in the hospital, including two in intensive care.

<cite>(CBC News)</cite>
(CBC News)

The 18 new cases include:

In the Moncton region (Zone 1), there are two new cases:

  • A person 19 and under.

  • A person in their 30s.

Public Health said one case is travel-related and the other is a close contact of a previous case.

In the Saint John region (Zone 2), there are three new cases:

  • A person in their 30s.

  • Two people in their 50s.

All three are contacts of previous cases.

In the Fredericton region (Zone 3), there is one new, travel-related case:

  • A person in their 20s.

In the Edmundston region (Zone 4), there are 12 new cases:

  • A person in their 20s.

  • A person in their 50s

  • Two people in their 70s.

  • Five people in their 80s.

  • Three people 90 and over.

Five of the cases are close contacts. Public Health said the other seven are under investigation.

The province has confirmed 1,933 total cases, including 1,755 recoveries. There have been 36 deaths.

Public Health has conducted 291,360 tests, including 1,395 on Friday.

Exceptions possible for isolation rule

New Brunswick is rolling out a change to allow some exceptions to the places where travellers entering the province can self-isolate.

All leisure travellers, business travellers, and people moving currently have to self-isolate for at least seven days at a designated hotel. There are several located around the province, which are being administered by the Canadian Red Cross.

Travellers must pay about $1,300 for the seven-day stay.

Public Health said Saturday some exceptions may be made to allow for an alternative to a hotel for self-isolation, such as a stand-alone residence. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The province said travellers can see if they qualify by emailing TravelRegistration.EnregistrementVoyage@gnb.ca

Compliance checks will be conducted for travellers approved to stay at an alternative location.

UNB residents to be tested again

Public Health continues to closely monitor a travel-related COVID-19 outbreak at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Residents and staff of Magee House residence will be tested for a third time on Sunday, according to a news release. The outbreak at the apartment-style residence has reported 12 cases, involving the COVID variant first reported in India.

It has also been linked to a positive case at George Street Middle School in Fredericton.

Residents and staff of Magee House at UNB Fredericton will be tested for a third time on Sunday.
Residents and staff of Magee House at UNB Fredericton will be tested for a third time on Sunday.(Ed Hunter/CBC)

Officials are investigating to see if there has been apartment-to-apartment transmission through the building's ventilation system. There are 101 units in the facility that provides housing for mature students.

Residents of Magee House and the university's Elizabeth Parr-Johnston residence are in isolation and not permitted to leave the property. Restrictions are expected to continue until May 8.

George Street Middle School update

Some students and staff at a Fredericton middle school are being asked to get tested a second time for COVID-19.

George Street Middle School has been closed since a case was confirmed on Monday. All test results have been negative so far.

COVID-19 assessment centres will be calling people directly who need a second test.

<cite>(Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)</cite>
(Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

Public Health said all results will be available by the end of the weekend, and parents will be informed of next steps.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the second round of testing is a "precaution" given the presence of the variant first reported in India.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have seen situations where individuals who first tested negative for COVID-19 have subsequently had a positive result five to 10 days after their initial test," Russell said in a statement.

Spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said Public Health identified close contacts through contact tracing to determine who needs to be tested again.

Exposures in Fredericton, Charlotte County

Public Health has identified new possible public exposure to COVID-19 in the Fredericton and Charlotte County area.

Fredericton:

  • The Snooty Fox, 66 Regent St. on Thursday, April 22, between 5-7 p.m.

Charlotte County:

  • Atlantic Superstore, 195 King St., St. Stephen on Wednesday, April 28, between 6:30-7 p.m.

  • Save Easy, 232 Water St., Saint Andrews on Monday, April 26, between 4:30-5:30 p.m.

  • Birch Grove Restaurant, 34 Brunswick St., St. George, on Saturday, April 24, between 3:30-5 p.m.

  • Dr. Michael Murphy's Office, 6 Queen St. W, St. Stephen on Tuesday, April 20 between 3-3:30 p.m.

Flight exposures

  • April 24 - Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 9:04 p.m.

  • April 22 - Air Canada Flight 396 – from Calgary to Montreal departed at 12:52 a.m.

  • April 22 - Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:27 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.