Excellent response to COVID-19 vaccination invites, N.B. health minister says
HALIFAX -- It may be nine days until Christmas, but it's three days from when 1,950 people will receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in New Brunswick and it's all hands on deck.
While the three other Atlantic Canadian provinces began administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, New Brunswick will begin administering the vaccine on Saturday.
The first 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived at the Miramichi Regional Hospital Tuesday morning.
"I understand that 92 per cent of the appointments were booked early this morning, so I am anticipating that by the end of the day or tomorrow morning, they'll be completely filled," said New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. "And we're looking forward to that unrolling hopefully flawlessly."
There has been someone selected to receive the first dose, but the minister won't reveal who that is quite yet.
The doses will be administered to members of the following priority groups this weekend at an immunization clinic at the hospital:
- Long-term care residents and staff
- Healthcare workers who respond to COVID-19 outbreaks
- Extra-mural staff and paramedics
- Other healthcare workers
- First Nations nurses
- Seniors over 85
Shephard says she has received word that the second shipment of 3,900 doses -- destined for New Brunswick next week -- will go to a different location.
"We have confirmed that we will be sending a portion of our next shipment to Moncton," Shephard said. "The details are not worked out yet. We're focusing on assessing to see how Miramichi goes before giving out those details."
The Paramedic Association of New Brunswick is hoping coordination of healthcare workers receiving the vaccine is better organized after some frontline staff were invited to get immunized, but couldn't get a shift change in order to do it.
EIGHT NEW CASES REPORTED
New Brunswick Public Health reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. With four previously reported cases now considered recovered, the number of active cases in the province has increased from 47 to 51.
One of the new cases involves a person in their 20s in Zone 1 (Moncton region). The case is related to international travel.
Five cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) involve:
- two people 19 and under;
- an individual 20 to 29; and
- two people 30 to 39
Of these, three are close contacts of a previously-confirmed case, one is related to international travel and one is under investigation.
Two cases are located in Zone 4 (Edmundston region). They involve an individual in their 20s and an individual in their 30s. Both are close contacts of a previously-confirmed case.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 567 and of those, 507 people have recovered. Eight people have died.
Three people are in hospital, two of which are in intensive care.
As of Tuesday, Public Health had conducted 142,228 tests.
NO EXTENDED BREAK FOR SCHOOLS
With two more days of classes before the holidays, there was confirmation Wednesday that students and teachers in New Brunswick's school system won't have an extended Christmas break -- something decided a couple weeks ago when public health said it wasn't necessary.
"Lots of teachers who certainly had a stressful year are looking forward to a break to being able to recharge their batteries and get back into class in January and hopefully we can put the COVID pandemic behind us and get schools more or less back to normal before the end of the year," said Education Minister Dominic Cardy.
EDMUNDSTON REGION REMAINS ORANGE
New Brunswick's Zone 4 (Edmundston region) remains at the Orange level under the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
As of Wednesday, 14 of the province's 51 active cases were located in the Edmundston region.
All other zones in New Brunswick remain at the Yellow level. During this time, Public Health measures and guidelines must still be followed.
The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:
- Zone 1 – Moncton region: 147 confirmed cases (4 active cases)
- Zone 2 – Saint John region: 127 confirmed cases (15 active cases)
- Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 113 confirmed cases (16 active cases)
- Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 28 confirmed cases (14 active cases)
- Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 137 confirmed cases (0 active cases)
- Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 11 confirmed cases (2 active cases)
- Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 4 confirmed cases (0 active cases)
VEHICLE TRAFFIC INFORMATION
New Brunswick's online dashboard includes information about vehicle traffic attempting to enter the province.
On Tuesday, 1,688 personal and 1,583 commercial vehicles attempted to cross the border into the province.
Of the vehicles attempting to cross the border, 22 were refused entry, for a refusal rate of 0.7 per cent.