New COVID-related death at Saint John care home brings provincial total to 14

·2 min read

FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick confirmed Monday that two residents of a long-term care facility in Saint John died last week after testing positive for COVID-19.

Only one of those deaths, however, is being attributed to the novel coronavirus, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters Monday. The COVID-related death involved a person in their 70s, she said, adding that New Brunswick has reported a total of 14 fatalities linked to the virus.

Seniors services company Shannex said Sunday that a resident of Parkland Saint John retirement complex died last Thursday and another died Friday. The company apologized for the delay in reporting the deaths, adding that identifying COVID-related deaths among residents can be complicated.

Five of the 14 deaths in New Brunswick attributed to the virus have occurred at Parkland Saint John.

New Brunswick health officials reported 27 new infections Monday, including 19 that were identified in the Edmundston region, which entered a 14-day lockdown on Sunday.

Officials said the Saint John and Fredericton regions will move to the "orange" pandemic-alert level on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. after they were at the "red," or highest level, for the past week. The Moncton region — where four new cases were reported Monday — will remain at the red level.

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions could soon be moved into a more relaxed alert level because of the few daily reported cases in those areas.

"We need to keep these zones in orange for now to ensure the health and safety of those who live there," Shephard said Monday, about those three regions. "But if trends continue to go well in these zones we will move all three to yellow once public health recommends we do so, hopefully later this week."

Officials say there are 348 active reported infections in the province and six people in hospital with the disease, including three who are in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,151 infections since the start of the pandemic.

Shephard said more than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province and 2,839 people have received their second dose.

"Vaccination clinics are planned for 20 long-term care facilities this week, using the Moderna vaccine to provide the first dose to more than 750 people," Shephard said, adding that "more than 1,600 health-care workers are scheduled to get their second dose of the vaccine this week."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press