N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Russell 'not really worried' about Canadian travellers bringing in virus

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Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said the risk will never be zero, but the situation is encouraging. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said the risk will never be zero, but the situation is encouraging. (CBC - image credit)

New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health says she's "not really worried" about COVID-19 being brought into the province by Canadian travellers, based on the low case numbers since the borders opened just over two weeks ago.

But Dr. Jennifer Russell says she wants to see as many eligible New Brunswickers as possible vaccinated with two doses when the province eventually opens up to people from the U.S. and international travellers.

Since the province reopened to all Canadians at midnight June 16, new case counts have been in the single digits, including the one new case reported Monday.

On June 27, the seven-day average dropped to one.

"And that's an incident that we haven't really seen since November of 2020," said Russell.

"With travel open across Canada and the numbers as low as they are, I'm not really worried about importation of cases, to a great extent. The risk will never be zero. So, you know, we'll always be very concerned and will continue to do the surveillance we need to do.

"But at some point there will be more international travel and then eventually when they open up the border with the U.S. So it would be nice to make sure that we have the highest percentage of the population vaccinated with two doses."

Nearly 42% double-dosed

Nearly 42 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 and older have now received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A total of 9,870 doses were administered Monday, including 8,977 second doses, which bumped the two-dose vaccination rate to 41.6 per cent, the COVID-19 dashboard shows.

Under the province's path to green, once 75 per cent of the eligible population has been double-dosed, all Public Health restrictions will be lifted and the state of emergency mandatory order will end, provided COVID hospitalizations remain low and all health regions remain at the yellow COVID alert level.

The province has set Aug. 2, New Brunswick Day, as the target to reach that goal.

The one-dose vaccination rate inched up to 78.5 per cent with the 893 first doses administered Monday.

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.

People are eligible for a second dose once at least 28 days have passed since their first dose.

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

18 active cases

The one new case of COVID-19 reported on Monday put the province's active case count at 18, the lowest in several months.

Four people are in hospital with the respiratory disease, none in intensive care.

New Brunswick has had 2,338 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 2,273 recoveries so far and 46 COVID-related deaths.

A total to 365,059 tests have been conducted, as of Monday.

There are no new public exposure notices. Previous public exposure notices can be found on the government of New Brunswick's website.

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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