(Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick - image credit)
Six new cases of COVID-19, in two New Brunswick health zones, were reported Friday.
Public Health, which held an extended live update on its revised COVID-19 vaccine rollout Thursday and announced Edmundston was moving to the orange recovery phase, did not hold a live update.
In a news release, Public Health said the new cases break down in this way:
Edmundston region, Zone 4, five cases:
two people 19 or under
an individual 20 to 29
two people 40 to 49
Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case:
an individual 40 to 49
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,417. Since Thursday, 12 people have recovered for a total of 1,287 recoveries.
There have been 24 deaths, and the number of active cases is 105. Six patients are hospitalized, and one is in intensive care.
A total of 221,807 tests have been conducted, including 895 since Thursday's report.
There are currently 105 active cases in New Brunswick.
N.B.'s rationale for making young people a priority for vaccine
As part of New Brunswick's revised COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, the province revealed this week that young people aged 16 to 24 years old will be prioritized to receive the shot in June.
That puts them ahead of anyone below the age of 70 who doesn't have pre-existing medical conditions. These people would receive the vaccine sometime between July and September.
That's a slight shuffling of the federal recommendations, which would have people 60 to 69 years old vaccinated in June, after people in their 70s.
Speaking to CBC News on Friday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard defended the province's decision.
She said vaccinating younger people will help reduce the spread of the virus, which is happening more commonly among 20-year-olds in places like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
"It's hitting the younger population, and they are the ones that are spreading it because they see more contacts, and they are more active," Shephard said.
"And so if we can help them stop spreading the illness, then we achieve a bit more herd immunity."
Public Health released this graphic, detailing the revised rollout of which groups will get the vaccine when, following its extended live update on Thursday.
Vitalité reviewing visiting rules as Zone 4 goes orange
Vitalité Health Network is reviewing its rules around visits as the Edmundston region, Zone 4, joins the rest of the province in the orange phase of recovery.
In a statement Friday, Vitalité spokesperson Thomas Lizotte said the health authority has updated the visiting guidelines on its website, removing the red-phase restrictions.
But he noted the guidelines are now being reviewed and further changes may be coming.
"Vitalité Health Network must impose limits on visits within its hospitals to ensure the security and safety of patients, staff and visitors during this pandemic," he said.
"However, we ... recognize the difficulty of balancing safety measures and visitors for very ill patients who may need their loved ones by their side."
Currently, Vitalité Health Network visiting rules for hospitals in orange zones prohibit visits for all hospitals, with the following exceptions:
Obstetric, pediatric and intensive care units: one designated visitor per patient
Palliative care (end-of-life) patients: two designated visitors (one at a time)
Patients who will receive medical assistance in dying: two designated visitors (one at a time), except where one of the visitors would require assistance to go to the patient's bedside.
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.
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.