New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health said the province witnessed a slight increase in COVID vaccinations since it introduced measures explicitly targeting the unvaccinated on Wednesday.
"We are seeing an uptick in vaccination appointments since we announced our new measures that will come into effect next week," said Dr. Jennifer Russell. "It is imperative for New Brunswickers to get vaccinated, so now is the time to book your appointment at a regional health authority clinic or call a participating pharmacy."
During a press conference on Wednesday, Premier Blaine Higgs announced New Brunswick residents and visitors must prove they received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter restaurants, bars, sporting events, entertainment venues and other businesses. The new rules will take effect at midnight on Sept. 21.
Public Health reported Thursday that 77.2 per cent of eligible New Brunswick residents received both vaccine shots to date, while almost 86 per cent had at least one shot.
The breakdown of New Brunswick's 51 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday demonstrates the importance of the vaccine, as Public Health indicated those not fully vaccinated represented 92 per cent of those infected. Only three of the province's new cases were fully vaccinated, according to Public Health.
While the confirmed new cases fell slightly from the 63 reported on Wednesday, Russell, in her Wednesday press conference, said the trajectory points to 100 new infections daily unless the measures work and vaccinations increase. The number of active cases is now 336.
Russell and Higgs cited the rising number of hospitalizations and patients admitted to intensive care units as the biggest concern.
Thursday's report shows those numbers growing, with 15 patients in the hospital, including nine in the ICU.
The Thursday update also announced new confirmed cases at schools and child-care facilities across the province, including three schools in the Perth-Andover area of Zone 3. Public Health confirmed positive tests at Perth-Andover Middle School, Southern Victoria High School and Andover Elementary School.
It also identified positive cases at Zone 1 schools — Harrison Trimble High School in Moncton and J.M.A. Armstrong/Salisbury Middle School in Salisbury.
In Zone 4, Public Health identified two positive cases at Polyvalente Alexandre-J-Savoie in Saint-Quentin.
Zone 3, the Fredericton and Upper River Valley region, reported the largest share of the province's 51 new cases, with 21. Public Health said 15 of those remain under investigation for a source of the infection. Over half of Zone 3's infections involved people 19 or less.
Zone 1, the Moncton region, reported 10 new cases.
Zone 2, the Saint John region, had only a single new infection.
Zone 4, the Edmundston, Grand Falls and Saint-Quentin region reported four new cases.
Zone 5, the Campbellton area, announced the second-highest number of infections in the province, with 12.
Zone 6, the Bathurst region, had three new infections,
Zone 7, the Miramichi region, was the only New Brunswick health zone with no new confirmed infections to report.
Russell urges everyone not fully vaccinated yet to book an appointment immediately or attend a mobile or walk-in clinic near them.
The next walk-in clinic in Woodstock is schedule for the AYR Motors Centre from 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun