COVID-19: N.B. reports death of person in 30s, only Moderna boosters now being offered

Click to play video: 'What’s driving New Brunswick’s COVID-19 restriction changes?'
What’s driving New Brunswick’s COVID-19 restriction changes?
For New Brunswickers trying to keep themselves and their families safe from COVID-19, dealing with the changes in health restrictions can be tricky. The province’s response to COVID-19 has changed over the course of the pandemic. Travis Fortnum has a look at what motivates the changes – and what role, if any, politics plays in making decisions – Jan 5, 2022

New Brunswick is reporting 672 PCR lab-confirmed new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, and the death of a person in their 30s in the Fredericton region.

There were also 227 recoveries, bringing the active case count to 7,267, but chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell has said the number
of PCR-confirmed cases no longer reflects the severity of the situation in the province.

Meanwhile, 63 people are hospitalized — four more than the previous day. Nineteen patients are in intensive care and 11 people are on ventilators.

Of the new reported cases, 135 are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), 323 are in Zone 2 (Saint John region), 85 are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), 65 are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), six are in Zone 5 (Campbellton region), 43 are in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) and 15 are in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).

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Today’s statement says “hundreds” of health-care workers continue to isolate at home due to the virus, but it doesn’t give a specific number. On Tuesday, officials said 571 health-care workers were isolating.

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Change in testing strategy

The province has changed its testing strategy. People with symptoms are now required to register online for a PCR or rapid test. After completing the form, people can determine which type of test they are eligible to receive.

PCR tests are reserved for people at “highest risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19.” This includes those who live in long-term care facilities, those who are symptomatic and pregnant, immunocompromised or aged 50 and over.

Those aged 49 and younger who are “otherwise healthy” and have symptoms will be advised to take a rapid test.

Click to play video: 'Disappointment over New Brunswick’s changes to COVID-19 testing strategy'
Disappointment over New Brunswick’s changes to COVID-19 testing strategy

Get your booster

The province continues to encourage people to book booster shots if eligible.

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The following groups can book an appointment for a booster dose if at least five months has passed since their second dose:

  • people 50 and older
  • immunocompromised people
  • members of First Nations communities
  • residents of nursing homes and adult residential facilities

And the following groups, including immediate household family members 18 and older:

  • health-care personnel – including those working in long-term care facilities
  • school personnel
  • early childhood education and daycare staff

As well, the province said it is preserving its Pfizer vaccine supply for future booster clinics for those aged 12 to 29. So, current eligible groups will be offered Moderna at booster clinics, regardless of which vaccine they received for previous doses.

Recent evidence has shown there’s an increased risk of myocarditis/pericarditis in young adults from the Moderna vaccine as compared to the Pfizer vaccine.

“Moderna is a safe and effective vaccine, and as the number of COVID-19 cases rise due to the Omicron variant, it becomes increasingly important for people to get their booster of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Russell in a news release.

The most recent data shows 83 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated, 90.5 per cent have received at least their first dose of a vaccine and 22.6 per cent have received a booster.

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— with a file from The Canadian Press

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