The unvaccinated hardest hit as N.B.’s COVID infections climb

·3 min read

Even as it hits 77 per cent of eligible residents fully vaccinated, New Brunswick continues to see its COVID number increase. After confirming 122 new cases over the weekend, Public Health reported 35 new cases in its Tuesday, Sept. 14, update.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, also pointed out 30 — 86 per cent of the new infections — occurred in people not fully vaccinated.

The Tuesday update also included news of confirmed cases in two more schools in Zone 3, the Fredericton and Upper River Valley region.

Public Health announced cases at Andover Elementary School in Perth Andover and Fredericton High School. That followed announcements on Monday of confirmed cases at Donald Fraser Middle School in Plaster Rock and École Saint Anne in Fredericton.

Public Health said school officials notified school communities of the confirmed cases, and Public Health officials will reach out to anyone in close contact with the confirmed case.

As per the Department of Educations and Early Childhood Learning policy, affected schools will close for at least a day to provide health officials with an opportunity to assess risk and prepare an operational response.

The Zone 3 school COVID announcements follow on the heels of confirmed cases in several schools across the province, including 10 in the Campbellton and Dalhousie area.

NBCC also confirmed a COVID case at its Woodstock campus.

Emily Blaney, Coordinator of Student and Internal Communications for NBCC, said the college shared the information with students and staff through email and posted it on social media Tuesday morning.

"Yesterday afternoon, we learned of one confirmed case of COVID-19 on the NBCC Woodstock campus. Public Health successfully completed contact tracing, and individuals who may have been exposed to the positive case have been notified," NBCC communications stated in the email and social media notice.

The post added the Woodstock campus, following guidance from Public Health, remained open and operating normally.

"As a precautionary measure, the affected areas on the Woodstock campus have been disinfected," the post stated.

Blaney said the college continues to monitor the situation and follow Public Health guidelines to ensure everyone's safety.

With Tuesday's update showing new confirmed cases in all seven health zones in the province, Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, again stressed the importance of vaccinations.

"Today, we are seeing confirmed cases in every region of the province and continue to see an epidemic among the unvaccinated — those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated as well as those who are not yet eligible," she said. "It is imperative we have as many New Brunswickers vaccinated as possible."

Zone 1, the Moncton region, continues to be among the hardest-hit areas of the province, reporting 16 of Tuesday's 30 confirmed cases. The report linked 11 to already confirmed infections, while five remain under investigation.

After reporting 48 new cases over the weekend, Zone 5, the Campbellton region, reported another nine on Tuesday, including six who are 19 or younger.

Zone 3, Fredericton and Upper Valley, confirmed three infections involving two people in their 20s and one in their 60s. Public Health said all three are under investigation.

Zone 2, the Saint John region, reported two infections of people in their 20s, linking both to previous cases.

Zone 4, the Edmundston, Grand Falls and St. Quentin region, saw two cases linked to previous infections.

Zone 6, the Bathurst region, reported a single infection linked to a previous infection.

Public Health linked one of the two cases reported by Zone 7, the Miramichi region, to a previous infection, while the other remains under investigation.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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