HALIFAX -- New Brunswick Public Health is reporting one death and 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

A person in their 70s in Zone 3 (the Fredericton region) has died as a result of COVID-19. This raises the total of COVID-19 related deaths in New Brunswick to 44.

"My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the individual who has passed away," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said in a news release. "We all have the power to reduce new cases further. Get tested, get vaccinated and continue to follow public health guidance."

Of the new cases confirmed on Thursday, there are three in Zone 1 (Moncton region), five in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), and eight in Zone 6 (Bathurst region).

Fourteen of the 16 new cases are close contacts of previously confirmed cases and two are under investigation, according to public health.

Nine people have recovered since Wednesday and the number of active cases is 146. Since the pandemic began, there have been 2,243 confirmed cases and 44 deaths.

Among the active cases, five people are in hospital, including four in New Brunswick. One of those patients is in an intensive care unit and the person hospitalized out of province is also in an intensive care unit.

On Wednesday, New Brunswick public Health Staff conducted 1,092 tests, raising the total since the pandemic began to 339,506.

VACCINE RATE INCHING UPWARD

Almost two out of every three New Brunswickers aged 12 and older have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and Public Health is encouraging anyone who has not yet received a first dose to book an appointment online through Vitalité or Horizon Health Network clinics or by contacting a participating pharmacy.

"We have the vaccine available to provide 75 per cent of New Brunswickers with their first dose by Monday," said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. "Once we reach that goal, we will be able to move to the first phase in our path toward the Green level. I encourage all New Brunswickers who have not yet been vaccinated to make an appointment at a pharmacy or regional health authority clinic or take advantage of a walk-in clinic if there’s one in your community. With your help, I know we can break new records in the number of people vaccinated between now and Monday, and we can reach our 75 per cent goal."

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR RESIDENTS VACCINATED OUT OF PROVINCE

Residents of New Brunswick who have returned to the province and registered with the New Brunswick Travel Registration program will receive an email from public health within 24 hours.

They'll get a questionnaire confirming whether they have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while outside the province.

"This will support the province’s effort to ensure 75 per cent of people 12 and older have their first dose of the vaccine," Public Health wrote in a news release. "If you are not contacted by Friday, June 4 at noon, please reach out to your local public health office. Contact information can be found online."

COVID-19 TESTING IN NACKAWIC

Public Health has set up a temporary outdoor, appointment-only COVID-19 testing clinic has been set up in the parking lot of the Nackawic Health Centre in response to recent possible public exposures in the area.

The clinic, which opened Thursday, will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"Anyone with symptoms of the virus, as well as anyone who has been at the site of a possible public exposure in the region is urged to request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment," Public Health wrote in a news release. "When requesting a test online, please select 'Nackawic' as your preferred site. When you are called for an appointment, indicate that you wish to be tested at the temporary site in Nackawic."

OUTBREAK AT SPECIAL CARE HOME IN GRAND FALLS DECLARED OVER

Public Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Pavillon Beau-Lieu, a special care home in Grand Falls, in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), is over.

The outbreak was declared on April 21 after a confirmed COVID-19 case at the facility.

"Staff and residents of the facility were re-tested several times to confirm the end of the outbreak," Public Health wrote in a release.