The province announced 10 new cases Friday and inched closer to its goal of getting first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers by Monday at midnight.
The COVID-19 dashboard recorded another 11,075 first doses administered, putting the total number of people who have received at least one dose at 467,403.
That's 67.4 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 or older.
The new total pushes the seven-day average up slightly and at the current pace, Oliver Dueck, a software developer based in Fredericton who has been tracking the province's vaccine data for the past few months, predicts the province will reach its target on Friday, June 11 — a day sooner than he previously projected, but four days after the province's goal.
If the province falls short of its target Monday, the planned loosening of restrictions, which include a partial Atlantic bubble and businesses such as restaurants, gyms and salons being able to operate at regular capacity, will be delayed until it does.
The province will hold a news conference Monday to report on the progress and will indicate at that time if New Brunswick will be able to enter the first phase of its path to green, Public Heath announced Friday. No time has been provided.
More than 52,000 people still need to get their shot. To hit Monday's target, that's roughly 13,000 a day.
The province did exceed that amount on May 22, when 13,200 doses were administered, said Dueck. But the average over the past week has been 7,720.
"It is encouraging to see that more than 11,000 people got their first dose of a vaccine yesterday," Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said in a statement Friday. "Thousands of appointments have been opened for booking vaccinations this weekend and there are a number of walk-in clinics available."
A detailed list of the walk-in clinics, including the locations, dates and times is available online.
The province also hopes to see a bump in the numbers by counting snowbirds and other residents who were vaccinated out of province and have returned to New Brunswick.
A new website has been created for these people to voluntarily fill out so they can be counted toward the 75 per cent vaccination goal.
The mandatory fields include their name, age group, the type of vaccine they received, the date it was administered, and their email address.
Department of Health officials did not respond to questions about how they will verify the information submitted.
Premier Blaine Higgs told reporters Friday he's optimistic about reaching the target, particularly based on Thursday's numbers, which he described as "really good."
"We'd been going along at about one per cent a day and it was up to two per cent," he said. "And that's what we need for the next four days. So we can do this."
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell agreed. She noted a clinic being held at the Brookside Mall in Fredericton on Monday alone can administer 1,800 doses.
"So sign up," she said. "The capacity's here, we just need the arms."
As of Friday afternoon, only about 75 of those 1,800 appointments had been booked, Russell confirmed. She could not comment on the numbers for other clinics.
Department of Health officials did not respond to a request for information.
147 active cases
The 10 new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday put the provincial total of active cases at 147.
Four people with the respiratory disease are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including one in an intensive care unit. One New Brunswicker is also hospitalized out of province in an intensive care unit.
Here is the breakdown of the new cases:
Moncton region, Zone 1, two cases:
Two people, 20 to 29.
Both cases are under investigation.
Saint John region, Zone 2, one case:
A person 20 to 29.
This case is related to travel.
Fredericton region, Zone 3, six cases:
A person 19 or under.
A person 30 to 39.
A person 40 to 49.
A person 60 tp 69.
Two people 70 to 79.
One of these cases is a contact of a previously confirmed case, and the other five cases are under investigation.
Bathurst region, Zone 6, one case:
A person 20 to 29.
This case is under investigation.
A total of 340,506 tests have been conducted, including 1,369 on Thursday.
New Brunswick has had 2,253 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 2,061 recoveries and 44 COVID-related deaths.
326 cases under investigation
The province's plan to begin loosening restrictions Monday under the path to green comes as 326 cases remain listed as "under investigation." That means Public Health officials are still trying to determine the origin of those cases.
Eight of those were added on Friday, but the "majority of them occurred during the first quarter of 2021 and are related to large clusters of activity at the time," confirmed Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane.
Some of them date back as far as December, he said.
This is the largest backlog of unresolved cases Public Health has had throughout the pandemic, Macfarlane confirmed.
"We will be dedicating some time to clearing that backlog," he said, without providing any specifics.
There are cases in every health zone, with the exception of the Campbellton region, Zone 5, said Macfarlane.
He did not provide a breakdown by zone, as requested, but did say the majority are in the Edmundston region, Zone 4.
New, unlinked activity in Fredericton region
Public Health is seeing "some new, previously unlinked, activity" in the COVID-19 outbreak in the Fredericton region, Zone 3, Macfarlane said.
Officials are still investigating, he said.
Two weeks ago, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said contact tracers had been able to establish links between almost all of the active cases
The outbreak, which stems from a cluster at the former isolation hotel Delta Fredericton, involves the highly contagious variant of concern first reported in India, also known at B1617.
A case of community transmission was confirmed in the region last week, which Russell had described as concerning. It was later identified as the variant of concern first reported in the U.K., B117.
The number of confirmed cases linked to the Delta has grown to 82 — 12 directly related and 70 contacts, either direct or indirect, said Macfarlane.
There are 75 active cases of COVID in the Fredericton region. That's more than half of the province's total active cases.
Outbreak at Zone 1 nursing home
A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a nursing home in the Moncton region, Zone 1, Public Health announced Friday afternoon.
A positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Villa Maria Inc. in Saint-Louis de Kent.
Fortunately, a very large number of our residents (86%) and our employees (72%) have already received their vaccine. - Villa Maria Facebook post
Members of the provincial rapid outbreak management team, known as PROMT, are on site providing support for residents and the home's care team, Public Health said.
Villa Maria notified family and friends of residents about the positive case at the 60-bed home in a Facebook post Wednesday night.
"Fortunately, a very large number of our residents (86%) and our employees (72%) have already received their vaccine," it said.
"We will keep you posted on the latest developments as soon as possible."
Residents and staff were tested Thursday, said Department of Health spokesperson Gail Harding. She did not say when the results are expected.
Testing will continue twice weekly, she said.
The nursing home had suspended all visits and all outings on May 31, citing the multiple public exposures to the coronavirus in the area. It advised families and friends it would provide access to residents via FaceTime.
Employees were instructed not to appear at Villa Maria if they or someone in their home had symptoms of COVID, or had been in contact with someone who was COVID-positive or awaiting test results.
They should get tested for COVID and follow Public Health guidelines for isolation, the post said.
Confirmed case at Nackawic Childcare
Nackawic Childcare was closed Friday for contact tracing after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Thursday.
Staff and families have been asked not to send their children to another child-care facility and to restrict their movements, Public Health said in a news release.
Public Health will directly contact anyone identified as a close contact, it said.
COVID-19 testing in Nackawic
Public Health issued a reminder Friday that a temporary outdoor COVID-19 testing clinic has been set up in Nackawic in response to recent possible public exposures to the coronavirus in the area.
The clinic, located in the parking lot of the Nackawic Health Centre, will operate by appointment only from Friday until Sunday, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Anyone with COVID symptoms, or anyone who has been at the site of a possible public exposure, is urged to request a test online and select Nackawic as their preferred site, or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment and indicate they wish to be tested at the temporary site in Nackawic.
Premier gets 2nd dose
Premier Blaine Higgs was among those who rolled up his sleeve on Friday. He received his second dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell at a clinic in Fredericton.
"This is exciting, really, isn't it? When you think of where we were months ago," the premier remarked through his face mask, which was marked with the message, "#Vaccinated. Think about it. Be about it."
People 55 or over who received AstraZeneca as a first dose at least eight weeks ago can receive it as their second dose now, if they provide their informed consent.
New Brunswickers who received AstraZeneca as their first dose and want to get a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as their second dose can expect more information next week, Public Health has said.
The province plans to release information on receiving second doses for all New Brunswickers at that time.
Public Health has updated its advice on mixing and matching vaccines, following new recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, often called NACI.
"Didn't feel a thing," Higgs said after getting his shot.
He felt "a little tired" the day after his first shot, he said, but it only lasted about 24 hours.
Atlantic COVID roundup
Nova Scotia reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday for a total of 251 active cases.
Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed two new cases, as the number of active cases fell to 80 from 90.
Prince Edward Island reported no new cases Friday, and has six active cases.
Latest public exposures
Public Health has identified numerous new potential public exposures to the coronavirus in 10 communities, so many that it stopped listing them individually in its daily news release Wednesday, opting instead to list only the communities. These include:
Pointe-Sapin in Zone 1 (Moncton region).
Oromocto in Zone 3 (Fredericton region).
Fredericton in Zone 3 (Fredericton region).
Saint-Quentin in Zone 4 (Edmundston region).
Petite-Rivière-de-I'lle in Zone 6 (Bathurst region).
Tracadie in Zone 6 (Bathurst region).
Lamèque in Zone 6 (Bathurst region).
Haut-Lamèque in Zone 6 (Bathurst region).
Shippagan in Zone 6 (Bathurst region).
Miramichi in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).
A detailed list of the potential exposures, including the locations and dates, is available on the government's COVID-19 website. It is updated regularly.
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:
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.
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, 750 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.