N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Atlantic bubble bursts, 15 new cases and one death reported

·10 min read
N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Atlantic bubble bursts, 15 new cases and one death reported

The Atlantic bubble has come to an end for now.

Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I announced Monday that they were leaving the bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.

New Brunswick isn't following suit, although Premier Blaine Higgs is asking people to be cautious about travel outside the province.

Monday's withdrawal from the Atlantic bubble comes as New Brunswick reported 15 new cases on Monday, and one death, which occurred in the Saint John region.

Eleven of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), three are in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and one in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said at Monday's news conference.

All 15 of the new cases have been "identified and are isolating," Russell said.

Seven people in New Brunswick have died of the disease since the pandemic started. A news release from the province said the person who died on Sunday was in their 80s and had underlying complications.

Higgs said at the briefing that he spoke with the Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador premiers Sunday night and that the decision to leave the bubble was a "shared decision."

"We understand the concerns with our current situation in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," he said.

"We understand their rules around people coming and going … and they understand why we are trying to keep things moving within our province between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. but doing so only for essential services and telling people 'let's stay within our own province.' "

New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Monday, the province had a total of 89 active cases. On Sunday, 1,025 tests were done, for a total of 117,272.

Premier asked to clarify 'confusing' mask rules

Premier Blaine Higgs was again asked on Monday to clarify the rules around when to wear a mask in the orange zone, amid some social media reports that people were being told to wear a mask when alone or on their own property.

Higgs acknowledged that there have been "some complaints" in this regard, and confusion about whether people should wear a mask when they are alone outdoors.

If a resident is outdoors or in a public space and faces "the possibility of running into someone and not being able to maintain physical distancing," they should wear a mask, he said.

'We're asking people to just follow some very simple rules in the orange zone," he said. "I understand there's some confusion when walking down the street, but when in doubt, put a mask on.

"Let's not find as many reasons as we can possibly find not to wear a mask, let's find reasons why we should wear a mask so we don't take a chance."

CBC News
CBC News

Epidemiologist recommends bartenders, servers get tested

An Ontario epidemiologist says New Brunswick should test bartenders and restaurant servers for COVID-19 because they're exposed to different people.

Then they spend time with other servers and bartenders and the virus continues to spread.

"That's how you're going to find cases," Colin Furness, who has been watching New Brunswick's pandemic experience, said Monday.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said she's aware that Nova Scotia is testing bartenders and restaurant servers, and it's idea her department may look at.

In the past, she said, New Brunswick teachers and health-care workers who are asymptomatic have been allowed to get tested.

"We can take that back and look at that," she said Monday of extending this to bartenders and servers.

Evan Mitsui/CBC News
Evan Mitsui/CBC News

Furness said it appears New Brunswick is on the cusp of community transmission, which he said is concerning because it means it's difficult to link where the virus first started.

"Then you know you're sitting on top of undiscovered cases."

But looking at the big picture, Furness said New Brunswick is still doing well compared to the rest of Canada.

He encouraged people to be careful about interacting with people in their 20s. They may have COVID-19 but experience no symptoms.

"That's the group most likely to be infected and have no idea," he said.

Government of New Brunswick
Government of New Brunswick

Enforcement of rules, and frustration with non-compliance

Premier Blaine Higgs said Monday that police and peace offers were enforcing compliance with the single-household bubble, mask-wearing, physical distancing and other rules in the orange zones on the weekend.

Thirty tickets were issued, he said, and at least one business in southeastern New Brunswick has been shut down after not following guidelines "for some time."

Higgs also singled out for criticism those who are deliberately ignoring the rules.

"It is disappointing to hear that some people have not been giving their real names and contact information" when at businesses, he said.

"You're not 'beating the system,' " he later added. "You're jeopardizing the health and welfare of maybe your neighbour, maybe your grandparents, maybe your parents."

Employee tests positive at Stan Cassidy Centre

Horizon Health Network and New Brunswick Public Health are investigating a potential COVID-19 exposure at Horizon's Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton.

As this is a high-risk situation, Horizon is declaring an outbreak at the Centre.

As of Monday morning, Horizon is restricting all visitors at the Centre and cancelling scheduled appointments until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

The employee is self-isolating, Horizon said in a statement.

Patients who were in contact with the employee when the employee may have been infectious had rapid testing for the respiratory virus Sunday.

Horizon said all affected patients have been isolated. And all staff who were in contact have had COVID-19 testing.

"As a precautionary measure, all other employees at the Centre will be tested for COVID-19."

Effective Monday morning, all staff and physicians at the Centre will participate in active screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

Horizon Health said affected patients and families have also been notified.

Employee, 3 residents test positive at Shannex

A Shannex official says the Parkland Saint John facility has activated its pandemic plan after one employee and three residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Clinical practice director and infection control specialist Lisa Snodgrass says all 371 residents and employees were tested.

And she's been told those four were the only positive cases.

"We're not sure how it got in," she said. "But we are sure of what we can do to help prevent the spread and that's what we're focusing on right now.

Public health says the outbreak is at Tucker Hall.

Snodgrass says that's a 90-bed licensed long-term care home on the Parkland Saint John campus.

Snodgrass said all residents are self-isolating as well as some employees - she declined to say how many.

Residents can normally move freely between the buildings, but under pandemic restrictions, she says most of the movement is limited to health care team members.

She says the investigation into cause of the outbreak is ongoing.

More potential public exposure warnings for Saint John

New Brunswick Public Health has released the following possible exposure to COVID-19 warnings for locations in Moncton and Saint John, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.

Anyone who visited the following businesses during the identified times should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Anyone who develops any COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online to schedule a test.

Saint John area

  • Rothesay Route 1 Big Stop Restaurant on Nov. 14 between 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. (2870 Route 1, Rothesay).

  • Pub Down Under on Nov. 14, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (400 Main St., Saint John)

  • Fish & Brew on Nov. 14 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (800 Fairville Blvd., Saint John)

  • Cora Breakfast and Lunch on Nov. 16 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (39 King St., Saint John).

  • Goodlife Fitness McAllister Place on Nov. 16 between noon and 1 p.m. and on Nov. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (519 Westmorland Rd., Saint John).

  • NBCC Grandview campus on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (950 Grandview Ave., Saint John).

  • Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. (47 Clark Rd., Rothesay)

  • Let's Hummus at 44 Water St. between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

  • Eighty-Three Bar Arcade at 43 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.

  • Callie's Pub at 2 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.

  • O'Leary's Pub at 46 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.

  • Five and Dime Bar at 34 Grannan St. on Nov. 14, between 12:30 to 2:30 a.m

  • Freddie's Pizza at 27 Charlotte St. on Nov. 14, between 2:30 to 3 a.m.

  • Big Tide Brewing Company at 47 Princess St. on Nov. 16, between 12:30 to 2 p.m.

  • Java Moose at 84 Prince William St. Nov. 16, between 2 to 2:30 p.m.

  • Rocky's Sports Bar at 7 Market Square on Nov. 13, between 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 14 between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.

Moncton

  • Fit 4 Less at 165 Main St. on Nov. 6-12, at various times between 5 p.m. and midnight. Full list on Public Health website.

  • GoodLife Fitness at Moncton Junction Village Gym on Nov. 6, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 9, between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

  • Aldo Shoes at Moncton Champlain Mall on Nov. 6-10 at various times between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

  • CEPS Louis-J. Robichaud fitness room at 40 Antonine-Maillet Ave. on Nov. 6, 9, 10 and 12 at various times in the evening from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • Tandoori Zaika Cuisine and Bar at 196 Robinson St. on Nov. 8, between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.

  • Keg Steakhouse and Bar at 576 Main St. on Nov. 17, between 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

  • Flights into Moncton:

  • Air Canada Flight 8954 on Nov. 15 from Winnipeg to Toronto, arrived at 8:16 p.m.

  • Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 15 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m.

  • Air Canada Flight 0992 on Nov. 7 from Mexico City to Toronto, arrived at 7:20 p.m.

  • Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 7 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 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:

  • A fever above 38 C.

  • A 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.