New Brunswick has five new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and is poised to miss its "path to green" goal of having 75 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated with their first dose of a COVID vaccine by five days, at the current rate, according to one data cruncher.
The province reported another 5,916 first doses administered Tuesday, pushing the total number of New Brunswickers vaccinated with at least one dose to 439,871.
That's 63.4 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 or over.
But there are still nearly 80,000 people left and only six days to go.
As of Tuesday, the province's seven-day average for doses administered is 7,428, said Oliver Dueck, a software developer based in Fredericton who has been tracking the province's vaccine data for the past few months.
Although that's an improvement over Monday's seven-day average of 6,851, the province still won't hit 75 per cent of the population until June 12, instead of its June 7 goal, he said.
The daily average would have to jump to more than 13,000 doses to meet the Phase 1 target of the reopening plan, which includes, among other things, a partial Atlantic bubble, eased travel restrictions for workers, and elimination of the steady 15 of contacts, said Dueck.
It is possible, he said.
"We did have one day a couple of weeks ago where we did have over 13,000 first doses administered on that day, as well as a couple other days where we were close to 12,000. So if we can sustain numbers like that, it's certainly possible."
Between May 20 and May 22, the total doses administered were: 11,800, 13,200, and 11,400.
Premier Blaine Higgs said the province is looking into whether it can have "other access points to allow a larger number of vaccines."
"But we do that with a cautionary note because we don't want to lose vaccines, or waste them, if people don't show up. That's why we like to follow the protocol with appointments."
He believes the province has enough vaccines to meet its goal, he said.
New Brunswick has received a total of 534,115 doses of vaccine to date and 480,783 doses have been administered so far, according to the Department of Health.
Another 50,240 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are expected this week, including 49,140 doses on Monday.
"We need people just to sign up and have their vaccines because it's part of the greater good here that we're searching for," said Higgs. "We still remain optimistic. But the push is on."
Public Health continues to encourage anyone who has not yet received their first dose to book an appointment online through Horizon or Vitalité Health Network clinics or by contacting a participating pharmacy.
Clinics operated by the regional health authorities are showing availability on Wednesday in Edmundston, Moncton, Tracadie and Saint John.
Vaccine availability is also showing on Thursday in Bathurst, Moncton, Fredericton, Saint-Quentin, Sussex, Caraquet and Grand Manan, and on Friday in Grand Falls, Fredericton, Saint John, Bathurst, Bouctouche, Shippagan and Campbellton.
On Tuesday, shortly before 5 p.m., Horizon posted on Twitter that it was accepting walk-ins for clinics scheduled for 7 p.m. in Sussex and St. Stephen.
Previously, government releases have clearly stated "walk-in appointments are not available."
Horizon seeks to eliminate no-shows at appointments
The Horizon Health Network issued a news release Tuesday, seeking support to eliminate no-shows at vaccination appointments. Spokesperson Kris McDavid said some residents are double-booking their vaccination appointment and not cancelling one of them.
"By cancelling an appointment you no longer need, you are providing access for other New Brunswickers awaiting their vaccine," McDavid said.
142 active cases
Public Health has revised the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in New Brunswick because two of the cases have been accounted for in other jurisdictions.
A case previously reported in the Moncton region, Zone 1, and a case previously reported in the Saint John region, Zone 2, have been removed from the list.
New Brunswick now has 142 active cases of COVID-19.
Five people are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including one in an intensive care unit. One New Brunswicker is hospitalized out of province in an intensive care unit.
The breakdown of the five new cases reported Monday is as follows:
Moncton region, Zone 1, one case:
A person 20 to 29.
The case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.
Fredericton region, Zone 3, two cases:
A person 50 to 59.
A person 70 to 79.
Both cases are under investigation.
Bathurst region, Zone 6, two cases:
Two people 40 to 49.
One case is a contact of a previously confirmed case and the other case is under investigation.
A total of 335,914 tests have been conducted, including 1,547 on Monday. New Brunswick has had 2,215 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 2,029 recoveries and 43 COVID-related deaths.
The following chart shows the active case rates and total case rates for each of the province's seven zones, based on population numbers provided by the Department of Health and on current case counts.
Active case rate*
Cases to date
Rate of cases to date*
*per 100,000 population
Confirmed case at Nackawic school
Nackawic Senior High School will be closed and no instruction will be given to students on Wednesday following a case of COVID-19 at the school.
In a note to parents and guardians Tuesday, David McTimoney, superintendent of Anglophone West School District, said the district is working with Public Health to identify any students and school personnel who may have been in contact with the case.
McTimoney said Public Health or the school will contact anyone if their child has either been identified as a close contact with the confirmed case, or potentially exposed to the case due to a common environment exposure.
In the first instance, the student and all household members will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
The second instance would be the result if, for example, the student used the same classroom as the person who was the confirmed case, he said.
"In this instance, your child will be asked to self-isolate until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 6th, and self-monitor for 14 days through to June 14th," McTimoney said.
"All household members will be required to do a modified self-isolation as well. More information on modified self-isolation will come in a communication from Public Health."
McTimoney said more information on next steps for families in that situation will be provided before the end of the day on Sunday.
On Thursday and Friday, all students, including those who are self-isolating, will follow online learning, and students are expected to log on to their classes on both days as they would during their distance learning days, McTimoney said.
The situation will be reassessed over the weekend and parents will be provided an update on continued learning at that time, he said.
"It is natural to want to know if your child may have been exposed to the virus but to protect the privacy of students and school personnel, other details, including names, will not be released," he added.
2nd dose details coming soon
Details on second-dose sequencing will be announced soon, Department of Health spokesperson Shawn Berry said Tuesday.
The opening of eligibility to register for a second-dose will be connected to the date the first dose was received, he said in an emailed statement.
This will be the same for people in New Brunswick and those coming to New Brunswick who received their first dose in another jurisdiction.
"Each province has a reciprocity agreement in place to ensure that all Canadians will have access to the COVID vaccine for their first or second dose regardless of the province or territory that they are residing in,' Berry said.
AstraZeneca recipients can get Pfizer or Moderna
New Brunswickers who received an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine as their first dose can get a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as their second dose, the Department of Health confirmed Tuesday.
It comes after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance to provinces and territories Tuesday on mixing and matching second doses.
"We welcome the announcement on interchangeability of vaccine doses using the mRNA vaccines," Department of Health spokesperson Shawn Berry said in an emailed statement.
"This means you could receive one vaccine product for your first dose and a different vaccine product for your second dose to complete your two-dose vaccine series.
"For example, persons who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine may receive either AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) for their second dose, unless contraindicated," he said.
For people who had Pfizer of Moderna as their first shot, NACI now recommends they can take either of the two vaccines as a second dose if the same first dose is unavailable or unknown, because they both use a similar mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) technology.
Premier Blaine Higgs, who received AstraZeneca as his first dose, told reporters Tuesday he will take whatever vaccine is available to him as his second dose.
"I'm open for a shot in the arm with whoever comes along first," he said, adding he has applied for a second dose, but as of Tuesday afternoon, didn't have an appointment yet.
About 43,000 New Brunswickers have received AstraZeneca as their first dose.
New Brunswick is currently offering AstraZeneca as second doses with "informed consent" to people 55 and older who received it as their first dose at least eight weeks ago, and those who are confined at home and don't have access to the other vaccines, which require cold storage and can't be transported to them.
If the supply increases, it may also be offered to people 55 and older who would like to receive it as a first dose, Public Health has said.
The province has received 61,500 doses of AstraZeneca from the federal government, including 13,500 doses two weeks ago.
Last Friday, Berry said at least 809 of those doses had been spoken for with appointments booked through Horizon and Vitalité clinics, which would put the total at 2,691. That did not include any doses claimed with appointments booked through pharmacies, Berry had said.
It's unclear whether the higher total Monday indicates some people backed out of their appointments. Berry did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
The updated NACI guidance is based on emerging research from Spain and the United Kingdom that found mixing and matching AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines was both safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.
Previous NACI guidelines stated that a vaccination series that began with AstraZeneca should be followed up with the same type of shot and that mRNA vaccines should only be used interchangeably if the same first dose is unavailable or unknown.
Atlantic COVID roundup
Nova Scotia's case load continues to fall, with only 12 new cases reported Tuesday. The province has 369 active cases.
Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 and has 90 active cases.
Prince Edward Island has no new cases to report, and has four active cases
New public exposures
Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates:
RV Insurance, 111 King. St, Woodstock, on May 14.
Carquest, 68 Scott St., Hartford, on May 14, May 15 and May 25.
Murray's Irving, 198 Beardsley Rd., Beardsley, on May 15.
Canadian Tire, 1110 Smythe St., Fredericton, on May 15.
Nackawic Grab N Go Irving, 467 Route 105, on May 18, on May 24, and May 25.
Tow Tech Equipment, 150 Main St., Bath, on May 20.
Zealand Grab N Go Irving, 104 Zealand Rd., on May 22.
River Valley Automotive, 445 Route 105, Nackawic, on May 26.
Kedmar Ventures Ltd., 4669 Route 105, Upper Queensbury, on May 28.
Public Health is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811.
People experiencing one or more symptoms are also encouraged to get tested.
Previous public exposures
Public Health previously reported the following potential public exposures:
Terry LeClair Auto Body Towing, 4818 Route 105, Nackawic, May 13-May 28.
Kent Building Supplies, 809 Bishop Dr., Fredericton, on May 23 between noon and 5 p.m
Lincoln Big Stop, 415 Nevers Rd., Waasis on May 26, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Irving, 1769 Lincoln Rd., Fredericton, on May 26, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Sobeys, 375 Miramichi Rd., Oromocto, on May 28, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Canadian Tire, 345 Miramichi Rd., Oromocto, on May 28, between 10 a.m. and noon.
Sobeys, Miramichi Road, Oromocto, on May 25 between 11 a.m. and 1p.m.
Shoppers Drug Mart, 1198 Onondaga St, Oromocto, May 23 between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Dollarama, Oromocto Mall, May 23 between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Atlantic Superstore, Oromocto Mall, May 23 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Day & Ross Freight Terminal, 11187 Route 130, Somerville, May 22
Kingswood Entertainment Centre, 1700 Kingswood Way, Hanwellm on May 22 between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Service New Brunswick, 432 Queen St., Fredericton, May 21 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Day & Ross Freight Terminal, 398 Main St., Hartland, on May 21
Day & Ross, 414 York St., Fredericton, on May 18,19 and 21
Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 21, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Head Shoppe, 1381 Regent St., Fredericton, on May 21 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Dollarama, 1033 Prospect St., on May 21, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Giant Tiger, 1160 Smythe St., on May 21 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Day & Ross Freight Terminal, 398 Main St., Hartland, May 17-20
Downtown Optometry Clinic, 169 Dundonald St., Fredericton, May 20 between 4:30 and 8 p.m.
Naturally Fit Gym, 125 NB-105, Lower Saint-Mary's, May 20 between 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
Capt. Submarine/Irving Oil, 305 Route 110, West Florenceville, on Thursday, May 20, between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Atlantic Superstore, 116 Main St., Fredericton on Wednesday, May 19, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Aldo Shoes, 1381 Regent St., on May 19, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Le Château, 1381 Regent St., on May 19, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Lawtons Drugs, 1381 Regent St., on May 19 and May 20, between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Home Depot, 1450 Regent St., Fredericton, Wednesday, May 19, between 5 and 7 p.m.
Fadi's Pizza, 312 Main St., Fredericton on Tuesday, May 18, between noon and 2 p.m.
Fredericton Regional Centre, 300 St. Mary's St., on Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Petro Canada, 20 Royal Rd., Fredericton, on Tuesday, May 18, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Fredericton YMCA daycare, 570 York St., Fredericton, on Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19
The Reps Gym, 401 Connell St., Woodstock, on May 17 to May 19 between 8 p.m. and midnight.
Capitol Building, 114 Queen St., Woodstock, on May 17 to May 19.
Scholten's, 325 Sunset Dr., Fredericton, on May 17 between 4 and 8 p.m.
Walmart, 125 Two Nations Crossing, Fredericton on Monday, May 17, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Dollarama, 125 Two Nations Crossing, Fredericton on Monday, May 17, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sobeys Fast Fuel, 530 Brookside Dr., Fredericton on Monday, May 17, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Walmart Supercentre, 1399 Regent St., Fredericton on Sunday, May 16, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Shoppers Drug Mart, 1040 Prospect St., Fredericton on Sunday, May 16, between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Christ Church (Parish) Church, 245 Westmorland St., Fredericton, Sunday, May 16, 10:30 a.m. service.
Hope City Church, 429 Clements Dr., Fredericton, on Sunday, May 16, 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. services.
Atlantic Superstore, 116 Main St., Fredericton, on May 16 between 9 and 11 a.m.
Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen St., Fredericton, on May 15 between 3 p.m. and May 16 at noon.
Crowne Plaza Fredericton, 659 Queen St., between 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, and noon on Sunday, May 16.
Castle Building Supplies, 24B Columbus St., Perth-Andover, on May 14 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and May 20 between noon and 5:30 p.m.
Arthurette General Store, 1450 Route 109, Red Rapids, on May 11 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., May 16 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and May 21 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Save Easy, A-24 Columbus St., Perth-Andover, on May 11, May 14, May 15, and May 21 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
DJ Marine, 3107 Route 117, Pointe-Sapin, May 25-May 28.
Saint Pierre Catholic Church, 2000 Route 535, Cocagne, on Sunday, May 23, 11 a.m. service.
Day & Ross Freight Terminal, 651 Frenette Ave., Moncton, on May 20 and May 22.
Wendy's Restaurant, 85 Harrisville Blvd., Moncton, on May 22 between noon and 8 p.m.
TD Bank, 525 Regis St., Dieppe, on May 22 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Moxie's Grill and Bar, 10 Wyse St., Moncton, on May 21 between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Tim Hortons, 170 St. George Blvd., Moncton, on May 21 between 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and May 23 between 8 a.m. and noon.
A&W, 6 Champlain St., Dieppe, on May 21 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Codiac Transpo City Bus #60, on May 21 between 7:45 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Codiac Transpo City Bus #51, on May 21 between 7:15 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Subway, 100 Morton Ave., Moncton, on May 19 between 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
Extreme Windows, 80 Loftus St., Moncton, on May 18, May 19, May 20 and May 21 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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.
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.