N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Steady 15 likely to stay with Atlantic bubble

·3 min read
There are 48 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
There are 48 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

New Brunswickers should soon get to see friends and family from other Atlantic Canadian provinces, but the health minister says that likely won't mean expanding the number of close contacts people can have.

Asked whether the Atlantic bubble will result in expanding the province's "steady 15" rule for persons living in zones in the yellow phase, Dorothy Shephard said her government likely won't be doing that.

"I don't think that we're going to be encouraging [household bubbles] to be much bigger" said Shephard, speaking to reporters Friday.

"And we certainly want to discourage mass, you know, mass gatherings because right now we're trying to get the population vaccinated."

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard speaks to reporters at the legislature on Friday, March 19, 2021 about rules surrounding the upcoming Atlantic bubble, as well as vaccine rollout updates.
Health Minister Dorothy Shephard speaks to reporters at the legislature on Friday, March 19, 2021 about rules surrounding the upcoming Atlantic bubble, as well as vaccine rollout updates.(Ed Hunter/CBC)

On Thursday the four Atlantic premiers jointly announced that a bubble of unrestricted travel would be allowed across the four provinces as of April 19, so long as COVID-19 case numbers remain low in the region and outbreaks are contained.

Shephard emphasized the province's plan to provide at least one dose of vaccine to every adult New Brunswicker by the end of June, adding "an incredible amount of liberties" will follow from that.

"So I think what we're asking people for right now is patience to, let's keep our steady 15, let's keep our household level with that steady 15."

High school teachers, some students to get vaccine early

Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced Friday his plan to get high school students back in classrooms five days a week as of April 12.

That date, he said, is based on the goal of vaccinating high school teachers as well students 16 or older with complex medical conditions by then.

Shephard said the province's vaccine rollout is going well, adding that 6.4 per cent of the population has received shots.

As of Thursday, everyone 80 and over, regulated health professionals — like dentists, physiotherapists and optometrists — who have close contact with patients, and people with complex medical conditions became eligible to receive vaccinations.

Shephard said 218 pharmacists throughout the province should now be ready to administer shots to persons 80 and over, along with other groups listed in the current phase.

"We've got allied health professionals now being done, we have educators who were announced today that they can book their appointments," she said. "So it's going to move fast."

2 new cases reported

New Brunswick Public Health reported two new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Friday.

One is an individual aged 60 to 69 in Zone 4, the Edmundston region, and the other is someone 40 to 49 in Zone 6, the Bathurst region, Public Health said in a news release.

Both cases are under investigation and are self-isolating, according to the release.

There are currently 48 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, and one patient is in hospital. The number of tests done yesterday was 716, for a total of 243,732 tests conducted so far in the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,486 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, with 30 deaths. Since Thursday, two persons have recovered for a total of 1,407 recoveries.

New Brunswick Public Health is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 in the province Friday.
New Brunswick Public Health is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 in the province Friday.(CBC)

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.