N.B. health officials concerned about latest outbreaks in Fredericton region
FREDERICTON -- They're not calling it an outbreak, but New Brunswick Public Health has sent a risk management team to a Fredericton hotel after five COVID-19 cases were confirmed.
Another 10 cases are close contacts and there's also a long list of exposure sites in the city -- including several restaurants, retail businesses and the city's library.
"Twenty-five exposure sites is a lot and we know that it doesn't take much for the variants to be transmitted," said New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.
Testing is ramping up. Hotel staff and vendors have been tested twice this week.
On Friday, an outbreak has been declared at the everett chalmers hospital, where one employee tested positive.
As a result, 36 horizon health staff are off work - and patients who may have been close contacts of the employee have been notified, and are isolating.
Restrictions are also in place at the nearby stan cassidy rehabiliation centre and veterans health unit, just in case.
"If we find that we're in a position where we need to take some further action and make it a smaller area and do some intervention, we're not going to be shy to do that," Shephard said. "But I think we need a few more hours before we know exactly what we're dealing with."
New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon is uneasy about the latest developments.
"It's terrible to be in the dark right now," Coon said. "It does take time to sort out what exactly is going on, on behalf of public health. I understand we've seen that in other outbreaks. But the number of public exposure sites is alarming."
There is hope that the outbreak at a special care home in grand falls is under control.
Over 50 residents and staff members tested positive for the virus and five people died.
The home has said on social media that 19 residents have recovered.
"You just want to hold them but you can't," said Marielle Blanchette, whose mother-in-law is one of the recoveries.
The family comes every day to see her through the window.
She says it's been incredibly difficult:
"There's so many people we lost in there, it's already five people," Blanchette said. "People want, they want the closure out of this."
FIVE NEW CASES REPORTED ON FRIDAY
Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today, all among people under the age of 40.
Four of the cases are in the Fredericton area and one is in the Saint John region.
There are now 116 active cases in the province, with six patients hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in intensive care.
Another four New Brunswickers are hospitalized with COVID-19 out of province.
More than 300,000 people in the province have now received at least one dose of vaccine, representing more than 44 per cent of the province's population over the age of 12.
Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 2,045 cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick and 41 related deaths.
New Brunswick says more than 44 per cent of the province’s population over the age of 12, which is more than 300,000 people, has received at least one dose of a vaccine.
"On May 13 we set a new single-day record for COVID-19 vaccinations in New Brunswick, with 10,400 doses administered," Shephard said.
The province has made a document available online which shows both the availability of vaccine appointments at participating pharmacies and the best way to contact each pharmacy. The document was prepared by the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association.
With files from The Canadian Press.