The dreaded variants have arrived in New Brunswick.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, made the announcement at a live-streamed COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon, noting there are three confirmed cases of coronavirus variants in the province.
On Friday, Russell and Health Minister Dorothy Shephard warned the arrival of variants in the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was likely imminent.
On Monday, Russell said, “That day has arrived.”
“Today we can confirm the U.K. variant of COVID-19 is in our province.”
There are two confirmed cases of the variant in the Saint John region, Zone 2, and one in the Miramichi region, Zone 7.
Two of the cases are related to international travel and one is related to travel in Canada. The individuals are self-isolating.
“The arrival of the variant will put more pressure on our health system,” Russell said. “It is a very fast-moving strain and it will be difficult to get ahead of it.”
25 new cases reported, almost all of them in Zone 4
Russell also announced 25 new cases on Tuesday, the majority of them in the Edmundston region, Zone 4. They break down in this way:
Moncton region, Zone 1, one new case:
- an individual 19 or under
Edmundston region, Zone 4, 24 cases:
- two people 20 to 29
- three people 30 to 39
- four people 40 to 49
- four people 50 to 59
- three people 60 to 69
- two people 70-79
- five people 80 to 89
- an individual 90 or over
Two patients are hospitalized, and both are in intensive care.
New Brunswick has recorded 1,288 confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic ad now has 267 active cases. Since Monday, 30 people have recovered for a total of 1,002 recoveries. There have been 18 deaths.
A total of 203,290 tests have been conducted, including 2,123 since Monday’s report.
Higgs says he’ll push for made-in-Canada vaccines
The vaccine rollout and the delivery hiccups that have dogged it so far will be at the top of the agenda on Premier Blaine Higgs’s Thursday evening conference call with the Prime Minister and premiers, Higgs said Tuesday.
Pfizer and Moderna have both delayed deliveries of their vaccines and on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to produce millions of COVID-19 doses in Montreal — but they won’t be ready till at least later this year.
Asked if he thought the rollout has been unravelling, Higgs was blunt.
“That will be a major topic of discussion on Thursday evening,” he said. “I think we’ve learned through this pandemic we must be able to depend on each other throughout our country” in terms of everything from vaccines to energy supply.
“But right now, it’s about vaccines. Right now, we should be looking to find locations that can make this vaccine here in Canada.”
He said he’ll again push for precise information on when the country will receive vaccines and how the provinces can help accelerate their production.
“We need to see which [province] is closest to having a vaccine capability for manufacture, and then rally the troops to do that,” Higgs said.
“Let’s talk about how quickly we can get them manufactured and distributed, right here in Canada.”
Missed your test because of the storm?
If the nasty weather that lashed most of New Brunswick on Tuesday caused you to miss your scheduled COVID-19 test, you’ll have to rebook it, according to the Horizon Health Network.
“If you are unable to attend your #COVID19 test today due to weather, please resubmit your request by visiting gnb.ca/coronavirus or calling Tele-Care 811,” Horizon said in a tweet posted Tuesday with the hashtag #NBStorm.
“Once you resubmit, you will be contacted with a new appointment date and time.”
New exposure notification for Air Canada flight
Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flight:
- Air Canada Flight 8918, from Toronto to Moncton on Jan. 9, departed at 8:30 a.m.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
A fever above 38 C.
A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should: