N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 4 new cases, updates on false positives and vaccine clinic

·4 min read

Four new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Brunswick on Monday.

There are three new cases in the Fredericton region, and one in the Edmundston region. They are as follows:

Fredericton region (Zone 3)

  • a person 20 to 29

  • two people in their 50s

Edmundston region (Zone 4)

  • an individual 20 to 29

The three cases in the Fredericton region are travel-related and the individuals are self-isolating. The person who tested positive in the Edmundston region was a contact with a known COVID case and was already self-isolating.

New Brunswick now has 578 confirmed cases and 48 active cases. There have been eight deaths, and there are currently three patients in hospital, one of them in intensive care.

As of Monday, 146,628 tests have been conducted, including 640 since the report on Sunday.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press file photo
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press file photo

False positives a 'very, very rare' occurrence

Public Health revised its numbers surrounding several previously reported cases on the weekend, noting that two cases — one in the Moncton region and another in the Bathurst region — were removed because they were determined to be false positives.

On Monday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, provided some background on those cases.

The laboratory is working to determine the cause of the two recent false positives, Russell said, but in general, they can be grouped into three categories: pre-analytical, analytical or post-analytical error.

A pre-analytical error occurs before testing is done, such as a labelling error or specimen contamination.

Analytical errors occur during actual testing, and post-analytical errors happen as a result of incorrect interpretation by the technologist. To guard against this, Russell said, Public Health has a second technologist review test results as well.

Russell noted that while false positives are obviously possible, they are unlikely.

"False positives are a very, very rare" occurrence, she said. "We have only had four in New Brunswick, so our false positive rate is 0.03 per cent."

CBC News
CBC News

Update on Miramichi vaccine clinic

A total of 1,871 people received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Miramichi Regional Hospital on Saturday and Sunday.

The remaining vaccines will be administered to frontline health-care workers and workers in long-term-care homes in Miramichi.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, said she has not heard of any allergic reactions at the weekend clinic.

"If there have been, it hasn't trickled up to me yet — but I'm assuming that if there were severe reactions, I would have heard about it," Russell said Monday.

Earlier this month, Health Canada advised people with allergies to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine not to get it.

The announcement came after two people in the U.K. had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. Both people recovered and both had histories of severe allergic reactions, Health Canada said.

Russell noted that mild reactions such as soreness at the site of the injection are "expected," and that mild side-effects are not uncommon with vaccines.

All patients receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Miramichi were monitored for 15 minutes after the injection, and all nurses administering the vaccine were trained to give epinephrine if needed. The fact that the vaccine was administered in a hospital setting added another level of safety, Russell said.

Vaccine recipients were given instructions on how to report any reactions that occurred beyond the 15-minute monitoring period, and those would be fed to the national level for tracking, Russell said.

Edmundston region remains in orange phase

The Edmundston region, Zone 4, remains at the orange level under the province's COVID-19 recovery plan.

According to orange level rules, people in Zone 4 must stick to a one-household bubble, maintain two metres of distancing and wear a mask while in indoor and outdoor public spaces.

All other zones in New Brunswick remain at the yellow level.

Public exposure warnings for Air Canada flight

Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flight:

Air Canada Flight 8506: From Montreal to Fredericton, arriving at 9:16 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Anyone who travelled on this flight should self-monitor for symptoms. If any symptoms develop, they should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or to call 811 to get tested.

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.