Saint John COVID-19 cases spike following Memorial Cup win

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Saint John COVID-19 cases spike following Memorial Cup win
Just a week after Saint John celebrated its big Memorial Cup win, some people may no longer be in a festive mood. There’s a large number of COVID-19 cases in the city following the junior hockey championship tournament – and that’s having an impact on some businesses. Robert Lothian has that story – Jul 6, 2022

The Saint John Region has recorded an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases only days after the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament concluded.

In its latest weekly COVID-19 update, Public Health reported 286 COVID-19 cases confirmed by PCR tests, and 483 positive self-reported POCT tests in Zone 2 alone.

The update stated there were a combined 1,915 new positive tests in the entire province.

Businesses in the region have seen their staff noticeably impacted by the recent spike, with some forced to temporarily close their doors.

On Monday evening, Big Tide Brewing in Uptown announced it would temporarily cut down operating hours after several staff members caught COVID-19.

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“Right now, we ended up with two servers testing positive on Sunday, I tested positive on Monday, and one of the cooks tested positive yesterday,” owner Chris Vair said in a Zoom interview Wednesday morning.

But, by Wednesday afternoon, two more staff tested positive, and in an email to Global News, Vair confirmed they would close “for at least a couple of days,” in hopes a few staff members could be ready to go by this weekend.

Vair noted that, so far, everyone from the brewery who has contracted the virus is doing okay.

“I don’t know if we’re suffering from the fall-out of it now or not, but it was still good, we wouldn’t trade it, it was still good,” said Vair.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: 4 deaths, hospitalizations on the rise in N.B.'
COVID-19: 4 deaths, hospitalizations on the rise in N.B.

Only a few blocks away from Big Tide Brewing is McGill’s, where some staff members have also tested positive for the virus.

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“We’ve had those issues, I actually had COVID in the middle of the Memorial Cup, so I had to isolate for five days during the tournament, and I couldn’t help out, so it was tough, but everyone is working through it,” said owner Corey McGill.

The restaurant is fully staffed, said McGill, but that can change quickly if multiple workers fall ill.

While the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce was unavailable for an interview Wednesday, CEO David Duplisea noted the situation is “percolating,” though, at this point, they are not concerned.

This resurgence in COVID-19 comes as memories of hosting the Memorial Cup are still fresh on the mind of Saint Johners.

Following about two weeks of games, activities and events, a win by the hometown Saint John Sea Dogs brought thousands of fans to the streets for a celebratory parade.

However, according to New Brunswick’s top doctor, it’s not time to point fingers.

“I wouldn’t necessarily use the word blame. Again, I think the risks increase when you’re in indoor settings, we’ve always known that, and they decrease in outdoor settings. So, when people make choices about gathering, and who they’re gathering with, and whether they’re wearing a mask, etcetera,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said in an interview on Tuesday.

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According to data provided by the Horizon Health Network, 41 staff in the Saint John Region are off work because of COVID-19. In an email, spokesperson Kris McDavid stated that figure has decreased by 13 compared to Tuesday.

Meantime, the network has a total of 73 staff members across New Brunswick off work due to the virus.

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