(Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick - image credit)
New Brunswick has lost another individual to COVID-19, bringing New Brunswick's pandemic-related death toll to 26.
Public Health confirmed Monday that a person between 80 and 89 years old has died as a result of underlying complications, including COVID-19.
This person was a resident of Manoir Belle Vue, an adult residential facility in Edmundston.
Public Health did not hold a live update on Monday, but in a news release, both Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, extended their sympathies to the families of the victim.
Sixth confirmed case of variant
A sample sent to Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory earlier this month from Moncton's Dr. Georges-L-Dumont University Hospital Centre's microbiology laboratory has been confirmed as the B117 variant first reported in the U.K.
The case is a previously reported case, in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, and marks the sixth case of the variant in New Brunswick.
A fifth case was confirmed last week. Public Health will not say which zone it's in.
One new case reported
The province reported one new case on Monday, the ninth consecutive day of single-digit cases.
The case is an individual 40 to 49 years old in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, who is a close contact of a known case and is self-isolating, Public Health said Monday.
The number of confirmed cases since the pandemic reached New Brunswick is 1,424. Since Sunday, two people have recovered for a total of 1,313 recoveries.
There have been 26 deaths, and the number of active cases is 84.
Two patients are in hospital, and one is in intensive care. A total of 224,023 tests have been conducted, including 428 since Sunday's report.
False positive leads to revised case count
Public Health has revised the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in New Brunswick.
Someone previously identified as having tested positive Fredericton region, Zone 3, has been removed from the confirmed list of cases after a false positive result was confirmed.
The lab is working to determine the cause of this false positive.
"When Public Health evaluates the results of its tests, it considers the epidemiological links and case information to determine the likelihood for these to be positive," the department said in a news release on Monday.
"In certain rare situations, such as this one, the results were not in keeping with the patient information or the COVID-19 activity in the area, so the samples were retested."
The individual involved is being informed of the negative result, the department said.
COVID-19 vaccine clinics underway this week
Clinics for more than 5,200 residents of 193 licensed long-term care facilities are slated to take place this week.
More than 1,000 other people, including staff of these facilities, are scheduled to receive their second dose at these clinics.
Studies show promise for vaccine's infection protection
An Atlantic region epidemiologist says a new study is providing the first glimmer of proof that COVID-19 immunization will curb transmission of the virus — and possibly lead to an end of travel and isolation restrictions for people who've been vaccinated.
In an interview with CBC News, Rodney Russell, a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Memorial University of Newfoundland, cited a report out of Israel, which has given more per capita vaccines than anywhere else in the world.
That study, released Thursday, and another reported in the Lancet medical journal, found the vaccine provides protection from infection at rates of up to 90 per cent, Russell said.
"Which means that these vaccines will actually reduce spread and transmission, so the person receiving the vaccine will be protected but the people around them will also not be at risk, because there will be no infection and therefore no spread."
If these findings are upheld, he said, it could be a game-changer for travel and self-isolation restrictions.
"All along we've been asking, could you get spread from a vaccinated person? And it looks like the answer is no.
"So if we really are seeing that the vaccines prevent infection and reduce spread … then that would then bring up the questions of do vaccinated people need to isolate, do vaccinated people need to quarantine, can they travel?"
Russell cautioned that he had not yet seen the data and noted the studies are not yet peer-reviewed.
"It's very early days," he said. "But those questions are going to come up. We are in a real-time experiment, and the real data is going to come."