New Brunswick’s top doctor says when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province is “getting closer to the end of the road,” but warns people that “we are not there yet.”
“We must stick to the route that we have taken so that we can all arrive safely at our destination,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell during a briefing with Premier Blaine Higgs on Tuesday.
The province reported nine new COVID-19 cases — six cases were in Zone 1 (Moncton region) and three cases were in Zone 3 (Fredericton region).
All cases are either travel-related or close contacts of previously-reported cases. There are now 134 active cases, including 10 New Brunswickers who are isolating outside of the province.
On the vaccination front, more than 55 per cent of New Brunswickers over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Higgs told reporters it’s expected 60 per cent will have received at least one dose by the end of this week.
More than 60,500 people were vaccinated in New Brunswick last week.
So far, 79 per cent of those aged 50 and older have been vaccinated. In the 60 and older age group, that figure is almost 86 per cent.
While Russell and Higgs both pointed to the success of the province’s vaccination program as key to moving to the “green” alert level, they also warned it’s important for people to keep following public health directions: wear masks, maintain social distance, wash hands and use sanitizer.
Doing so, said Higgs, will ensure New Brunswick can have a summer with fewer restrictions.
“We have made tremendous progress but it is important to remember there is continued work to do,” he said.
“I’m convinced we will be successful and we will see our province open up as we start the summer.”
Higgs said the province is currently forming its “path to green” level plan and will reveal details soon.
Fredericton cases at schools, daycare
There have been a growing list of cases and public exposures in Fredericton.
Russell said most of the cases in the city can now be linked to each other or directly to travel.
On Monday night, the province said two cases were confirmed at Priestman Street School. Students, staff and their families have been asked to self-isolate until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
Tuesday is an “operational response” day and students will learn online on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a second positive case has been confirmed at the Fredericton YMCA daycare on York Street.
“Staff, children and families who attend the child-care facility are advised to restrict their movements for essential services only for the next 48 hours to allow for contact tracing and to stay close to their telephone so Public Health representatives can get in touch if needed,” the province noted in a news release.
Close contacts of any cases will be contacted by public health.
Outbreak at special care home
Public health has declared an outbreak at Ti Bons Soins, a memory care home in Shediac (Zone 1), after one confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a staff member.
Testing of staff and residents is currently taking place.
“We are working hard to protect our most vulnerable residents,” said Russell.“While vaccinations are helping, we must remain vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.”
Potential public exposure
Russell said during the news briefing that anyone who has been at a potential exposure location, as identified by public health, should get tested for COVID-19, even if they have been vaccinated.
The following is a list of new possible exposure locations:
Moncton and Dieppe:
- Extreme Windows, 80 Loftus St., Moncton, on May 18, 19, 20, and 21 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Subway, 100 Morton Ave., Moncton, on May 19 between 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
- TD Bank, 525 Regis St., Dieppe, on May 22 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
- Aldo Shoes, 1381 Regent St., on May 19, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Le Château, 1381 Regent St., on May 19, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Lawtons Drugs, 1381 Regent St., on May 19 and 20, between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
- Costco, 25 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 21, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Dollarama, 1033 Prospect St., on May 21, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Giant Tiger, 1160 Smythe St., on May 21 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.