New Brunswick reports one new COVID-19-related death, Edmundston goes into lockdown
HALIFAX -- Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting another COVID-19-related death, most of the Edmundston zone is going into lockdown, and high schools are suspending in-person learning.
The new death was a person in their 70s, according to Dr. Jennifer Russell, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and lived in Zone 4 (the Edmundston region).
"I offer my sincere condolences to their family," said Russell. "I have no doubt the people of New Brunswick are feeling their pain as well."
This comes one day after another death was reported in the same zone.
"These new cases, especially in Zone 4 are straining our healthcare system," said Russell. "And, these impacts are being actually being felt in other regions as well, as transfers are taking place to other zones."
Russell said Public Health will now assume all new cases of COVID-19 in the province are variant cases.
NEW CASES AND EDMUNDSTON LOCKDOWN
Russell announced a total of 19 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick Saturday – 15 of which are in the Edmundston region.
She says all 15 of Edmundston’s new cases are from community transmission.
"These are cases in which we cannot confirm a tie to an existing infection," she said.
Russell says Public Health recommended to cabinet that Zone 4 (Edmundston region) and Madawaska go into a full lockdown starting Saturday at midnight. Cabinet has accepted that recommendation.
Some communities will not change status: Saint-Leonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark, and Four Falls will remain under Red Alert level, while Kedgwick and Canton will remain under Yellow Alert.
"If you live in a lockdown area, it is vital that you stay at home as much as possible. Limit your contacts and go out only for essentials," said Dorothy Shephard, Minister of Health.
She adds that vaccination clinics will remain open, and encouraged all eligible to continue to use them, and go to their appointments.
"Over the past two weeks, people living in the red level area of Zone 4, the Edmundston region, have been working hard to slow the spread of COVID-19," Shephard said. "Unfortunately, it has become apparent that we are dealing with variants, and as we have seen in other jurisdictions, we will need to take stronger measures to get this outbreak under control."
As part of the lockdown, families will be required to stick to their single-household bubble. Shephard said this can be extended to include a caregiver, family member who needs support, or one other person who needs support.
No formal, or informal gatherings will be allowed, and New Brunswickers will only be able to leave their home for essential activities such as work or school.
Public-facing businesses will only be allowed to sell essential items, and all groomed ATV and snowmobile trails will be closed.
Shephard said a full list of regulations will be available on the New Brunswick Government’s website, and her team will continue to monitor the lockdown situation over the coming days.
HIGH SCHOOLS DELAY IN-PERSON CLASSES
Shephard says all in-person learning will be delayed at Edmundston region high schools for at least two weeks.
This decision will be revisited the week of April 26.
“We are taking this measure out of an abundance of caution, to allow more time to perform contact tracing, and ensure outbreaks, particularly involving the variants, are under control,” said Shephard.
During this time, schools in the lockdown area will use online learning only.
"I’m going to go off script here for a moment," said Shephard near the end of the conference, visibly changing her demeanor and looking up from her notes.
"I thank every New Brunswicker for taking this seriously," she said. "I know so many of you are, but this is a time for us to be strong, and to understand that there are many things out of our control – so we must do what is in our control."
N.B. COVID-19 CASE DATA
New Brunswick has had 1,713 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
In total, 1,531 people have recovered, and 33 people have died in the province from COVID-19.
Twenty people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, with 13 in the intensive care unit.
The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:
- Zone 1 – Moncton region: 369 confirmed cases (16 active cases)
- Zone 2 – Saint John region: 237 confirmed cases (five active cases)
- Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 254 confirmed cases (eight active cases)
- Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 616 confirmed cases (117 active cases)
- Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 182 confirmed cases (no active cases)
- Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 29 confirmed cases (one active case)
- Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 26 confirmed cases (1 active case)
New Brunswick's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.
As of Sunday, 150,106 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in New Brunswick.
Approximately 20.3 per cent of the province's population, 134,547 New Brunswickers have received at least one dose.
The province has received a total of 211,545 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in their inventory.
A previous version of this story said 16 of Saturday's new cases were in the Edmundston region. The correct number is 15. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.