‘This is a critical time’: N.B. identifies 23 new COVID-19 cases; 71 active cases

HALIFAX —
New Brunswick is reporting 23 new cases of COVID-19 – the most new cases in one day – bringing the number of active cases to 71.

On Saturday, the province announced the new cases, which include 16 cases in Zone 2, six cases in Zone 1 and one case in Zone 3.

“We are facing a serious situation with new transmission of the virus in New Brunswick. I know this is a direct relationship between what’s happening in our province and what’s happening across the country in other jurisdictions in terms of the record number of increase in cases across Canada, in the U.S.; globally in the U.K., in Europe,” said chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell.

“Our situation can quickly turn very serious if we do not take immediate actions to slow the spread of this disease.”

23 NEW CASES

The six cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:

  • one individual under the age of 19
  • one individual in their 20s
  • three people in their 30s
  • one individual in their 60s

The 16 cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region) are as follows:

  • two people under 19
  • three people in their 20s
  • one individual in their 30s
  • five people in their 40s
  • two people in their 50s
  • one individual in their 60s
  • two people in their 80s

One case in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) is an individual in their 30s.

All cases are self-isolating and under investigation.

“What is happening in our province, with the rapidly rising number of active cases, shows just how fragile our bubble is,” said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. “This is a critical time for our province, but we can still turn this around. We need everyone – employers, businesses and residents alike – to do what is right for themselves and everyone.”

“We know most are complying in public places, but some are letting their guard down – and that is leading to the situation we are in, but it’s not too late,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We know what we need to do in order to turn this around.”

CASES THROUGHOUT N.B.

The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:

  • Zone 1 – Moncton region: 126 confirmed cases (32 active cases)
  • Zone 2 – Saint John region: 63 confirmed cases (30 active cases)
  • Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 81 confirmed cases (7 active cases)
  • Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 8 confirmed cases
  • Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 137 confirmed cases
  • Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 5 confirmed cases (2 active cases)
  • Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 4 confirmed cases

The province recently announced that residents can take an online self-assessment if they are experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

RECOVERY EFFORTS

Zone 1 and Zone 2, areas that spans from Southfield to Campobello Island, are now in the orange phase of recovery.

“To bring them back into the yellow phase and keep the rest of the province at that level we need a renewed commitment to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and we need it now,” said Russell. “Everyone needs to reduce their close contacts to the lowest number possible.”

Russell noted the unobservable nature of the virus.

“I can assure you that the people who are transmitting COVID-19 are not aware they are transmitting COVID. I can assure you that the people who are being infected with COVID-19 are not aware that they’re being infected with COVID-19,” said Russell. “It is a very subtle and very discouraging type of virus and transmission because it is silent. We don’t know it’s happening, but it is happening.”

OUTBREAK AT NURSING HOME

Public Health declared an outbreak on Friday at Shannex Tucker Hall, a nursing home in Saint John.

On Friday, 421 tests were conducted at the Parkland Shannex campus. As of 9:30 a.m. on Saturday 106 tests have been processed from Tucker Hall, with three new positives in that area, for a total of four confirmed cases to date in the facility.

Meanwhile, the microbiology lab continued to process its remaining tests on Saturday.

EXPOSURE NOTIFICATIONS

On Saturday, Public Health identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Nov. 07 while on the following flights:

  • Air Canada Flight 0992 – from Mexico City to Toronto arrived at 7:20 p.m.
  • Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton arrived at 11:43 p.m.

There is a process Public Health follows when addressing instances where the public may have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. In cases where record-keeping is able to confirm and identify anyone who may have been exposed, officials contact these individuals directly and do not issue a separate announcement. In cases where officials cannot be certain of exactly who may have been exposed to the virus, Public Health issues a public announcement in an effort to reach anyone who could have been affected.

COLLECTION OF CONTACT INFORMATION

Controlled venues at which seating is offered for the purposes of eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment are required to maintain a record of the names and contact information and the time of all persons who attend.

Keep information in a secure place and not in the public view. More information can be found in Collection of names and contact information under the Mandatory Order COVID-19. A form businesses can print off to assist them can also be found there.

ENFORCEMENT

Police officers and peace officers, as well as public health inspectors with the Department of Justice and Public Safety and inspectors with WorkSafe New Brunswick, are in Zones 1 and 2 to make sure the rules are being followed.

People who refuse to comply with provisions of the mandatory order will face penalties.

“We can’t go on as if our case numbers were still low – that’s not possible,” said Russell. “They are not low anymore and there is a significant risk that they were climb higher in the days to come.”

A NOTE ON MASKS

Russell noted mask wearing might provide residents with a false sense of security.

“Once that [transmission] happens it is very hard to get under control without the cooperation of every single citizen doing their part,” said Russell, adding masks don’t guarantee safety. “Just because you have a mask on does not mean you can get closer to people.”

VEHICLE TRAFFIC INFORMATION

New Brunswick’s online dashboard includes information about vehicle traffic attempting to enter the New Brunswick border.

On Friday, 1,998 personal and 1,060 commercial vehicles attempted to cross the border into the province.

Of the vehicles attempting to cross the border, 26 were refused entry, for a refusal rate of 0.9 per cent.

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