Residents of the Edmundston and Upper Madawaska region of New Brunswick are eager to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In province's hardest hit region, almost every appointment at community clinics is booked through Tuesday. More than 700 doses are being administered each day as the area rides out an outbreak driving it back to red-phase restrictions.
Edmundston Mayor Eric Marquis said residents are jumping at the opportunity to be part of the solution in bringing the pandemic to an end.
"We are all very conscious of the situation that has hit the region over the past year and past few months, especially after Christmas when we went to red and lockdown," he said. "People are ready to move forward."
There are more than 100 active cases in Zone 4 and hundreds of people are in self-isolation. Public Health reported 10 new cases on Thursday, with nine of them in the Edmundston region.
9 new cases
New Brunswick is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all in the Edmundston region.
Public Health said all but one of the cases is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.
They break down as follows:
A person in their 20s.
Two people in their 30s.
A person in their 40s.
A person in their 50s.
A person in their 60s.
Three people in their 70s
There are 147 active cases. Ten people are in the hospital, including five in intensive care.
New Brunswick has confirmed 1,632 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 1,454 recoveries. There have been 30 deaths.
Public Health conducted 1,346 tests on Thursday for a total of 259,413.
Reduced community transmission
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, urged New Brunswickers to follow health guidelines over Easter weekend.
"No matter how you plan to celebrate Easter this weekend, please show kindness and respect to others by keeping your contacts low, wearing a mask and staying at home and away from others if you have symptoms of COVID-19," Russell said in a statement.
Residents living in the red phase must maintain a single-household bubble.
Marquis said most new cases are the close contacts of previous ones, such as family members already self-isolating.
"We're not seeing more community transmission where we don't know the source, so it tells us the situation should improve over the next few days," he said.
The mayor received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week and shared photos. He works for the school district and was immunized at a clinic for staff members.
New community clinics will be opened up on Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to vaccinations at local pharmacies.
Several priority groups are currently eligible to receive a shot, including people 75 and older, residents of a First Nation community, truckers, rotational workers, health care workers, first responders, and people with complex medical conditions. A full list can be found on the provincial government's website.
Case at Edmundston school
The Edmundston area is reporting another positive case of COVID-19 inside of a school.
La Cité des Jeunes A.-M.-Sormany notified staff and families on Thursday. Contact tracing is ongoing and anyone who may have been exposed to the virus will be contacted directly by Public Health.
After the long Easter weekend, students will switch to distance learning for Tuesday and Wednesday. The district said the school is expected to resume in-person classes on Thursday.
École Régionale Saint-Basile has reported five cases of COVID-19. Students are learning remotely until April 7.
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.