New Brunswickers who ignore public health advice and go on unnecessary trips are “selfish” and don’t deserve to be called citizens, Education Minister Dominic Cardy said Monday during a news conference in Fredericton.
When Cardy was asked a question about people planning March break trips, he was blunt in his response.
“We’ve been making it increasingly clear that travel is the source of COVID-19 into our province,” Cardy said. “Anyone who thinks it’s a smart idea to go on a March break holiday in light of what Dr. Russell has said, in light of the evidence from around the world, is committing an act of selfishness against their family, against the community, and against the people of this province. They’re draining health-care resources from people who need it and they’re exposing themselves as people not worthy of the title of citizens.”
Cardy said he doesn’t have much time for people who don’t think the rules apply to them or would ignore the advice of public health officials.
“The more people decide to ignore public health advice, the more there are going to be consequences,” Cardy said.
With vaccination programs underway, the end of the pandemic is near, and beginning to ignore the guidelines at this point is foolish and premature.
“It’s like hopping off a boat when you’re still 500-feet from shore,” Cardy said.
21 NEW CASES ANNOUNCED
New Brunswick has announced 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. One previously reported case is now considered recovered, increasing the total active case number to 204, the largest number of active cases in the province since the pandemic began.
“This new wave of COVID-19 is more challenging than any we have experienced so far,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health.
On Monday, New Brunswick Health reported four cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region), seven cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), six cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), and four cases in Zone 5 (Campbellton region).
The four cases in Zone 1 (Moncton) involve:
- Two individuals 19 and under
- An individual in their 20s
- An individual in their 30s
The seven cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton) involve:
- An individual 19 and under
- An individual in their 20s
- Two individuals in their 30s
- An individual in their 40s
- An individual in their 60s
- An individual in their 80s
The six cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston) involve:
- Three individuals in their 50s
- Three individuals in their 60s
The four cases in Zone 5 (Campbellton) involve:
- An individual 19 and under
- An individual in their 30s
- Two individuals in their 40s
The New Brunswick government says all cases are self-isolating and being investigated.
More than 1,700 New Brunswickers are currently in self-isolation, according to Russell.
“When you follow Public Health guidance you are protecting yourselves and your families against this very serious disease,” said Russell. “You are also protecting our ability to move forward with our vaccination campaign. The campaign may take up to nine months, helping us bring this pandemic to an end.”
OUTBREAKS AT LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
N.B. health says there are no new cases at the four long-term care facilities that are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.
The province has declared outbreaks at Parkland Saint John, Fundy Royal Manor (Hillsborough), Canterbury Hall at Parkland Riverview and Foyer Ste-Elizabeth (Baker-Brook). The staff and residents at these four facilities will be retested this week.
An outbreak at an adult residential facility is declared whenever there is a single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member.
UPDATE ON SCHOOLS IN ZONE THREE (FREDERICTON AREA)
Students at two schools in Woodstock, N.B. will be learning from home for at least a week, after cases were confirmed at the schools on Friday.
On Friday, three cases were confirmed at Woodstock High, and one at Townsview School. Both schools had an operational response day on Monday, with students staying home while school staff prepared for remote learning.
Students from both schools will begin learning from home on Tuesday, Jan. 12, and will continue learning remotely the remainder of the week.
“We have always said that we will not hesitate to move to home learning if and when the need is identified, but these decisions cannot be made lightly,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “The department’s primary mandate is to ensure that students are able to have access to high-quality education. Students need healthy and safe schools to be successful, that is why we have put plans in place to ensure our schools are able to stay open, even with a small number of cases.”
UPDATE ON SCHOOLS IN ZONE FIVE (CAMPBELLTON AREA)
Students at two schools in New Brunswick’s Campbellton region will be learning from home for at least a week, after cases were confirmed at the schools on Friday.
On Friday, a positive case was confirmed at Académie Notre-Dame in Dalhousie, and another at Polyvalente Roland-Pépin in Campbellton.
Students from Académie Notre-Dame and École Aux-Quatre-Vents in Dalhousie stayed home Monday for an operational response day.
Students at École Aux-Quatre-Vents will move to virtual learning on Tuesday, Jan. 12 for two weeks.
The majority of students at Académie will return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 12, with the exception of a few classes that will continue to learn remotely for the next two weeks. School staff will contact families directly today with more information.
The province says Grade 10 students at Polyvalente Roland-Pépin in Campbellton are learning from home, but no other impact on learning is anticipated at this time.
New Brunswick health has added information about COVID-19 vaccination in the province to their online dashboard.
According to the dashboard, 7,732 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province as of Jan. 11.
The province has received a total of 11,175 doses of vaccine. Both the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be administered several weeks apart – as of Jan. 11, 1,862 New Brunswickers have been fully vaccinated, with 3,443 residents currently awaiting their second dose of vaccine.
People who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in December were told to return to Miramichi over the weekend to receive their second dose.
“It’s slow-going early on, just because we’re so limited in the small quantities in the doses we’re going to receive of the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna (vaccine),” says Russell. “But we do have a schedule, and on a weekly basis, we will be receiving those shipments and immediately doing the immunizations for that population.”
Public Health’s goal was to deliver 1,800 vaccinations on Saturday and Sunday.
Also on the table, and under discussion, is whether to vaccinate residents of long-term care homes where cases have been confirmed.
Nancy Cogger’s father lives in Tucker Hall on the Parkland Saint John campus, where an outbreak has been declared and she says they’ve received an unsettling update.
“We have been doing neighbourhood zoom calls and Shannex has reported to us the New Brunswick government has removed Tucker Hall from the queue list for the vaccine,” said Cogger,
However, the health department won’t confirm if this plan is moving ahead.
“Again, those discussions are ongoing but the safest approach at this time is to not vaccine people at a facility where there is an ongoing outbreak,” Russell said.
NEW TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Students who travel into N.B. from other provinces (because of formal custody or care agreements) are now required to get weekly COVID-19 tests.
The New Brunswick government says this also applies to students from kindergarten to grade eight living in Quebec or Nova Scotia who study in New Brunswick.
The state of emergency, first declared on March 19, 2020, was revised Friday. It remains in place. As of Monday, the entire province remains at the Orange Level of recovery.
COVID ALERT APP
New Brunswick’s chief doctor says only nine per cent of the province has downloaded Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app, and is encouraging more New Brunswickers to download the app.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
New Brunswick has had 800 cumulative cases of COVID-19. 586 have recovered, and there have been nine deaths.
One person is currently in hospital due to COVID-19. No one is in intensive care.
As of Monday, New Brunswick has conducted 163,556 tests.
The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:
- Zone 1 – Moncton region: 204 total confirmed cases (50 active cases)
- Zone 2 – Saint John region: 167 total (37 active cases)
- Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 186 total (66 active cases)
- Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 59 total (25 active cases)
- Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 163 total (25 active cases)
- Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 15 total (1 active case)
- Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 6 total (0 active cases)
VEHICLE TRAFFIC INFORMATION
New Brunswick’s online dashboard includes information about vehicle traffic attempting to enter the province.
On Sunday, 749 personal and 736 commercial vehicles attempted to cross the border into the province.
Of the vehicles attempting to cross the border, 22 were refused entry, for a refusal rate of 1.5 per cent.