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N.B. COVID-19: CUPE strike leads to vaccination and test cancellations

The province also reported 70 recoveries on Sunday, bringing the province's active total to 513. . Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

New Brunswick is advising that a strike by unionized provincial workers has led to the cancellation of COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinics, as well as future delays in test results.

Public Health confirmed a person in their 80s in Zone 5 (Campbellton region) died because of COVID-19.

It’s reporting 32 new cases and 70 recoveries, bringing the province’s active total to 513.

Of the new cases, 17 were unvaccinated, four were partially vaccinated and 11 were fully vaccinated.

In total, 23 people are in hospital. There are 13 people in ICU, 10 of whom are unvaccinated. One person is partially vaccinated and two are fully vaccinated.

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Currently, 85 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated and 92.6 per cent have received at least their first dose of a vaccine.

CUPE strike impact

About 22,000 members of the New Brunswick branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) walked off the job last Thursday.

Click to play video: 'Some health services impacted as CUPE NB strike continues'
Some health services impacted as CUPE NB strike continues

Due to the job action, a vaccination clinic at the Brookside mall in Fredericton was cancelled. COVID-19 swabbing was also cancelled on Saturday at assessment centres in Fredericton, Hartland, Moncton and Saint John, with more than 300 appointments cancelled, according to the province.

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“Some cases prioritized by Public Health were diverted elsewhere for testing,” the province noted in a release.

But the province said the Dr. Georges-L-Dumont University Hospital Centre’s microbiology laboratory has been affected.

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“Assessment and testing activity will be significantly impacted in the coming week.”

The province said it would provide an update on Monday for “mitigation plans.”

Vitalité Health Network said Sunday it was reducing the level of patient care and services across its hospitals and health care facilities, in response to the strike.

“Contingency plans have been activated in all facilities and points of service,” the network said in a statement.

Similarly, Horizon Health Network said it was activating its patient care plan. While the network will be scaling back certain services and suspending others entirely, it would continue to provide emergency and essential services.

Before contract talks broke off last Tuesday night, the union was seeking a 12 per cent raise over four years, while the government confirmed Thursday it was offering an 8.5 per cent wage increase over a five-year period.

CUPE New Brunswick president Steve Drost said Sunday that the union’s bargaining team was available in Fredericton and willing to resume negotiations.

Regional breakdown of new cases

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

  • three people, ages 20-29
  • a person 40-49

Three cases are under investigation and one case is a contact of a case.

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The 17 new cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region) are as follows:

  • 12 people, ages 19 and under
  • two people 30-39
  • two people 50-59
  • a person 60-69

One case is under investigation and 16 cases are contacts of a case.

The two new cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) are as follows:

  • a person , ages 20-29
  • a person 60-69

Both cases are under investigation.

The three new cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) are as follows:

  • a person, ages 19 and under
  • a person 30-39
  • a person 40-49

One case is under investigation and two cases are contacts of a case.

The six new cases in Zone 7 (Miramichi region) are as follows:

  • a person 20-29
  • two people 40-49
  • two people 70-79
  • a person 80-89

All six cases are under investigation.

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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