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Restrictions return for New Brunswick students, leaving some to question if they were removed too soon


Rising cases in New Brunswick have doctors concerned that all restrictions were removed too soon.

Dr. Zahid Butt, a physician and infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Waterloo, says since the Delta variant spreads fast, it's important to stay ahead of the virus.

"(What) we are seeing is that until … you achieve a very high vaccination rate, and I would say probably 90 per cent, then only maybe you can limit the transmission by vaccines only," says Butt.

Restrictions are already returning to schools this coming week.

"The fact that we know there is an increased risk of student-to-student transmission because the Delta variant affects young people more seriously than previous editions of COVID, we are taking more aggressive steps (this time) around.  For example, with one case moving the school online right away," said Dominic Cardy, minister of education.

On Monday, measures coming into effect include using classroom groupings, physical education classes will be taught outdoors, weather permitting, and indoors wearing masks, as well as assemblies will no longer be permitted.

"Steps like that are part of recognizing that Delta is more dangerous for young people and that means for the community, because the more that we have the spread of the Delta variant the more we end up with people, mainly unvaccinated -  80 per cent plus of our cases are mainly unvaccinated - the more those folks end up in hospital," said Cardy.  

On Saturday, Vitalité Health Network sent out a press release saying visits are suspended at the Medical-Surgical Unit of the Campbellton Regional Hospital due to the presence of COVID-19 cases. They say the ban will remain in place until further notice.

"The amount of cases we have lately, it really is probably a good thing to bring (masks) back. We just want to make sure that everyone is healthy and thanksgiving is just around the corner. We want to make sure that we can see our families,” said Emma  Keefe, a post-secondary student in Fredericton.  

Until the province is at least 90 per cent fully vaccinated, Dr. Butt says restrictions should be in place.

"You will have to rely on public health measures I would say like testing, tracing, and isolation, mask mandates and limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. So that, as I said, would be the way to go in New Brunswick,” said Dr. Butt.

Vaccination appointment bookings tripled late in the week following an announcement on proof of full vaccination when accessing certain events, services and businesses, and that anyone entering New Brunswick must pre-register their travel. Top Stories

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