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N.B. Public Health says case numbers are dropping, but CUPE strike is affecting pandemic response

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HALIFAX -

New Brunswick Public Health reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 recoveries on Monday as the number of active cases fell to 506.

"Of the new cases, 16 – or 52 per cent – are unvaccinated, three – or nine per cent – are partially vaccinated, and 12 – or 39 per cent – are fully vaccinated," Public Health said in a news release.

Of the 24 people in hospital, 14 are unvaccinated, one is partially vaccinated, and nine are fully vaccinated, according to numbers put out by New Brunswick Public Health. There are 16 New Brunswickers in an intensive care unit and of those, 12 are unvaccinated, one is partially vaccinated, and three are fully vaccinated.

STRIKE CAUSES STRAIN

New Brunswick Public Health says it has implemented contingency plans in response to the CUPE strike, but says it is "putting further strain on the health-care system."

"CUPE did not agree to the designation of essential workers in COVID-19 services (screening, vaccination clinics, assessment centres, labs)," Public Health said in a news release.

Public Health says some regional health authority vaccination clinics and COVID-19 screening at assessment centres has had to be cancelled or rescheduled.

"At this time, regional health authority vaccination clinics are only accepting people with scheduled appointments and are not able to accommodate walk-in appointments," Public Health said in its news release. "People are asked to be patient with staff and expect delays."

According to Public Health, the labour disruption has also led to the cancellation of some of Horizon Health Network’s mobile rapid-screening kit pickup locations and some rapid-screening kit pickup sites within the Vitalité Health Network, public health said.

A complete list of available sites for Vitalité Health Network is available online.

"Due to decreased testing capacity, Public Health has identified priority groups to receive PCR tests," Public Health said. "This is intended to protect the most vulnerable and support case and contact management. Asymptomatic individuals and those not directed by Public Health for testing may experience delays."

REGIONAL BREAKDOWN OF NEW CASES

Here is a regional breakdown of the new cases:

  • 15 new cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region);
  • 12 new cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region);
  • one new case in Zone 3 (Fredericton region);
  • three new cases in Zone 7 (Miramichi region);

Additional information is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

CONFIRMED CASES IN SCHOOLS AND CHILD-CARE FACILITIES

You can find information on cases in schools on the Healthy and Safe Schools website and the COVID-19 dashboard.

Since Friday, Public Health has confirmed a case at each of the following facilities, which are all located in Zone 1 (Moncton region): Reaching for Rainbows After School Program; Kingswood Academy; Centre du Jour l’Éveil. Affected families have been notified. If you or a family member have been in close contact with a case, you will be notified by Public Health or the facility for contact tracing. If you are not notified directly, you have not been identified as a close contact.

Since Sept. 7, 63 early learning and child-care facilities have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.

VACCINATION UPDATE

Public health says that as of Monday 85.1 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 92.6 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine.

"Individuals looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are strongly encouraged to book an appointment at a regional health authority vaccination clinic," Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health said in a news release. "Walk-in visits are not encouraged and individuals are asked to be patient while in line."

People working in health care and residents of First Nations communities can now book an appointment to receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose if six months have passed since their second dose of a vaccine.

"Beginning this week, people 65 and older and school personnel will be able to book an appointment to receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose if six months have passed since their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine," Public Health said in a news release. "Those who have received one or two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be able to book an appointment to receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose if 28 days have passed since their second dose."

You can book a vaccination appointment at regional health authority vaccination clinic through the online booking system or at a participating pharmacy. If you're a resident of a First Nations community, you can also book an appointment at a community clinic.

A list of upcoming clinics is available online.

CIRCUIT BREAKER REMINDER

The following areas of New Brunswick are under a circuit breaker: Zone 1 (Moncton region); most of Zone 2 (Saint John region); the northern portion of Zone 3 (Fredericton region); all of Zone 4 (Edmundston region); and all of Zone 5 (Campbellton region).

More information about the circuit breaker rules, including a detailed list and map of affected communities, is available online.

POTENTIAL PUBLIC EXPOSURES

Public Health is urging anyone with two or more symptoms to request a test online.

If you have been somewhere where there has been a possible public exposure, but you are asymptomatic, you may be able to pick up a rapid-screening kit (while supplies last).

A map of potential public exposures can also be found on the COVID-19 dashboard.

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