New Brunswick public health says five cases of COVID-19 have been identified at the Delta Fredericton and confirmed that another 10 cases in the broader community are connected to the hotel through close contacts.
Public health has not declared an outbreak, but is sending additional resources to the hotel.
“Although it is not an outbreak, public health has put in processes at the Delta Fredericton similar to those used by the PROMT (Provincial Rapid Outbreak Management Team) in a long-term care facility outbreak to facilitate risk management processes and testing,” said public health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane.
During Thursday’s COVID-19 update, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said that two cases of COVID-19 had been connected to the hotel.
Macfarlane says that all staff, visitors and vendors of the hotel have been tested twice this week, including on Thursday.
Delta Fredericton had been acting as one of the province’s isolation hotels for travelers coming into the province, but Russell said on Thursday that it had dropped out, leaving a total of three designated hotels across the province.
Public health first issued an exposure notice last week, covering April 26 to May 2. On Thursday another exposure notice was issued for May 6-12 for the hotel and its restaurant STMR. 36.
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, health minister Dorothy Shephard said she “did not have that information” when asked if an index case had been found for the first exposure notice for the hotel.
When if the province’s hotel isolation program has been successful, Shephard said it’s too soon to tell.
“At this point today that’s still speculation,” Shephard said.
“We’re not going to know the wisdom of any of our decisions, quite frankly there times when I’ve said to my colleagues, the decisions we make today we will be judged on in three months. That is the reality of our COVID reality.”
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New Brunswick reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
There’s one case in Zone 2 (Saint John region) that’s under investigation and four cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region).
Of these, three cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case and the other one is travel related.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 2,045. Since Thursday, 16 people have recovered for a total of 1,887 recoveries.
The province said there have been 41 deaths, and the number of active cases is 116.
Ten patients are hospitalized in total. Six patients are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit. Four patients are hospitalized out of province.
On Thursday, 1,362 tests were conducted for a total of 310,906.
On Thursday, New Brunswick joined a growing list of Canadian provinces pausing the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for first doses.
However, the province said it is continuing to offer the AstraZeneca to those 55 and older who have provided their informed consent.
Currently the supply of AstraZeneca is limited, with fewer than 4,000 doses available in the province. It is being used primarily for those who are homebound and unable to access another vaccine.
The province said more than 13,000 more doses of AstraZeneca are expected to be delivered to the province later this month. These will be used as second doses for those who received their first dose of AstraZeneca and wish to receive it for their second dose.
“It is approved by Health Canada and has proven to be very effective in other parts of the world, such as in the United Kingdom, which has seen a substantial drop in hospitalizations and death,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.
“Supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine is relatively low in New Brunswick, so we are using it strategically as it does not have the same refrigeration requirements as other vaccines,” she added.
More than 44 per cent of the province’s population over the age of 12, which is more than 300,000 people, have now received at least one dose of a vaccine, the province announced.
On May 13, the province has set a new single-day record for COVID-19 vaccinations in New Brunswick, with 10,400 doses administered.