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COVID-19: N.B. reports record-breaking 257 new cases, 2 deaths

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick forecasts 200+ case days in the new year' New Brunswick forecasts 200+ case days in the new year
As COVID-19’s Omicron variant runs rampant outside its borders, New Brunswick moves to tighten restrictions. Officials saying modelling suggests staggering case numbers in the new year. Travis Fortnum reports – Dec 21, 2021

New Brunswick has broken its daily COVID-19 case count for the second day in a row with 257 cases.

There were also two deaths. Public health confirmed a person in their 50s in Zone 2 (Saint John region) and a person in their 80s in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) have both died as a result of COVID-19.

Read more: New Brunswick to move to stricter Level 2 next week as cases stay high

Of the new cases, the majority were in Zone 2 (Saint John region) at 139 cases. A further breakdown is at the bottom of the article.

The province also reported 98 recoveries on Thursday.

To date, 102 cases have been confirmed to be the highly-transmissible Omicron variant. The province noted none of these cases have resulted in people being hospitalized.

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There are currently 39 people in hospital, including 16 in intensive care. Five of the patients in hospital were initially admitted for other reasons and contracted COVID-19 from a hospital outbreak.

The province said contact tracers are no longer able to notify the close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases because of the influx of cases.

Instead, they’re focusing on notifications for high-risk settings. Public health will still conduct contact tracing for schools, daycares and First Nations communities, as well as long-term care homes, correctional facilities, hospitals, shelters, group homes and within transient populations.

People who test positive are asked to reach out to their own personal close contacts. Those who are identified as a close contact should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, use rapid tests and book a PCR test if symptoms develop.

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick to no longer notify contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases: chief medical health officer' New Brunswick to no longer notify contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases: chief medical health officer
New Brunswick to no longer notify contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases: chief medical health officer – Dec 21, 2021

The high number of cases also means “enhanced monitoring protocol” for hospitals. The release stated that staff who have been exposed to positive cases within hospitals will be following a “Public Health-directed policy for regular testing and symptom monitoring should they be required to maintain services at their facility.”

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“It is important to understand this enhanced surveillance protocol is similar to the policy used by the other Atlantic provinces,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, in the release.

“New Brunswickers can be confident they will be protected if they go to a hospital. Residents who do not need emergency services are asked to consider going to a walk-in clinic or calling 811.”

The province is set to move to Level 2 of its winter plan, which includes stricter restrictions, on Dec. 27.

Vaccinations

Currently, 82.8 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated, 89.8 per cent have received their first dose, and 16.8 per cent have received a booster dose.

The province also said more than 19,000 pediatric vaccination appointments for children aged five to 11, as well as 59,700 booster appointments, have ben booked through regional health authority clinics.

As well, since booster eligibility was expanded on Wednesday to include household members of those working in long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools and child-care facilities, nearly 4,000 appointments have been booked for that group.

Breakdown of new cases

  • 39 in Zone 1 (Moncton region)
  • 139 in Zone 2 (Saint John region)
  • 49 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
  • 17 in Zone 4 (Edmundston region)
  • two in Zone 5 (Campbellton region)
  • five in Zone 6 (Bathurst region)
  • six in Zone 7 (Miramichi region)
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