N.B. reports 7 cases of COVID-19 Sunday, Atlantic bubble talks may resume

·4 min read

New Brunswick announced seven new cases of COVID-19 Sunday.

Six of the cases are in the Moncton region (Zone 1), including:

  • an individual aged between 30-39.

  • three people aged between 60-69.

  • an individual aged between 70-79.

  • an individual aged between 80-89.

The seventh case in the Campbellton region (Zone 5) is age 50-59.

The cases are self-isolating and are under investigation.

New Brunswick announced 10 cases Saturday for a total of 17 over two updates.

There are now 41 active cases in the province, with cases in every health zone:

  • Fredericton (18).

  • Moncton (12).

  • Edmundston (5).

  • Saint John (1).

  • Bathurst (1).

  • Miramichi (2).

  • Campbellton (2).

There have been nine deaths since the pandemic began. One person is in intensive care related to the virus.

New Brunswick has had a total of 618 COVID-19 cases and 567 of those are recovered.

New cases mostly connected

In an interview Sunday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said the six cases in the Moncton region are "pretty much all linked, but I say that with a grain of salt because we do need to finish all of our contact tracing."

She said some of the 10 cases reported in Zone 3 Saturday are connected, but not all.

"What we have been seeing across the province is family gatherings, simple dinners with family and friends and extended family, contributing to transmission, but we've also seen it in workplace settings as well," said Russell.

She said most cases were from people who were symptomatic and still went to work or gatherings without getting tested.

Russell said the Christmas holidays and the resulting gatherings definitely had an impact in the province's recent spike in cases, and more cases are likely as a result in the coming days.

"If you have mild symptoms, you need to get tested and you need to stay home when you're not feeling well."

Atlantic bubble discussions could resume

Russell said the Atlantic provinces may soon resume discussions about the Atlantic bubble if there is no further spike in case numbers. But there is also the matter of a new COVID-19 variant.

"Nobody wanted to have any discussions until we could really look at the lay of the land in early January," she said.

"But now what has happened, is we have a bit of a wrench thrown into things with the (United Kingdom) variant."

The new COVID-19 variant that first appeared in the U.K. in mid-December, has been identified in three Canadian provinces, including Quebec and Ontario.

Russell said New Brunswick now needs to be more vigilant than it was before the new variant surfaced.

She urged that non-essential travel has become even more dangerous and that, once the new variant comes to New Brunswick, the virus will spread faster.

"Let's say one person has 10 close contacts, of those contacts maybe three or four would become positive. Well, with the U.K. variant the majority of them would become positive," said Russell.

"We don't know when that will be, we hope it will be a long time away, but we can't predict that."

Russell said the province will hopefully have enough vaccines for the majority of New Brunswickers in the next six months.

Listuguj confirms two more cases

The Listuguj Mi'gmaq government confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend.

The Quebec community now has 13 cases total.

It noted that the new cases were found during a period of extensive testing last week.

"Thank you to everyone who went to the CLSC in Pointe-à-la-Croix to get tested. Your efforts to keep our community safe do not go unnoticed," Listuguj Mi'gmaq government said in a statement Sunday.

The Listuguj Mi'gmaq government urged the community to stay within their homes and limit contact to immediate family to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"We are not strangers to each other like the rest of the world. Our bubble is Listuguj," it said in a separate statement Sunday.

"That bubble has been broken. There is no other way of saying it."