New Brunswick reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday -- the largest single-day spike since the beginning of the pandemic.
The province has reported more than 50 cases in three days and there are 80 active cases.
"A new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived in New Brunswick," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health. "This is not a good situation and it has the potential to get significantly worse in the coming days."
Because of the spike, and the fact that there are active cases in every health zone in the province, public health has recommended that every zone be moved to the orange level of restrictions. Premier Blaine Higgs said the advice will be taken and, as of midnight Tuesday, every part of New Brunswick will be under tighter pandemic restrictions.
"We are doing this to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19," Russell said. "The number of cases has more than doubled in less than a week and we still haven't seen the effect of the New Year's Eve gatherings."
Russell cautioned everyone to take COVID-19 seriously, and to pay attention to the symptoms.
"People who have exhibited COVID-19 symptoms have gone to holiday gatherings and gone to work," Russell said.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had harsh words for people ignoring the public health guidelines.
"In spite of aggressive messaging prior to and during the holiday season, we knew that some would selfishly ignore the rules," said Higgs. "There is a risk that our health-care system could be faced with hundreds of new cases each day and would quickly be overwhelmed. We must act swiftly and decisively to ensure that does not happen."
The total active case count now stands at 80.
Over half of Tuesday's new cases are people under the age of 40.
"One person exposed up to 150 others," Higgs said. "Some have lied to public health contact tracers, slowing down and reducing the effectiveness of contact tracing and putting others at risk. If you don't care about yourself, please care about others."
Contact tracers have reported people being rude and evading questions, according to Russell.
As a result of these new cases, she says 60 health-care workers are now off work and 16 non-urgent surgeries now cancelled at a hospital in western New Brunswick.
"I am concerned about the number of healthcare workers that are impacted right now and what also concerns me is the fact that we are still continuing to see a rise in cases and we expect to see more as a result of gatherings over New Year's Eve," Russell said.
Monday, 6,430 people in New Brunswick were self-isolating because of travel over the holidays.
Last week, that number was as high as 8,000.
BREAKDOWN OF NEW CASES
Public Health reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Nine cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region), including:
- one person 19 and under;
- six people in their 20s;
- a person in their 30s; and
- a person in their 50s.
Three cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region), including:
- a person 19 and under;
- a person in their 40s; and
- a person 90 and over.
Eleven cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), including:
- two people 19 and under;
- a person in their 20s;
- two people in their 30s;
- two people in their 40s;
- three people in their 50s; and
- a person in their 60s.
Two cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), including:
- a person in their 20s; and
- a person in their 50s.
The two cases in Zone 5 (Campbellton region) are two people in their 50s.
All cases are self-isolating and under investigation.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 662 and 572 people have recovered. There have been nine deaths, and the number of active cases is 80. One patient is hospitalized and is in an intensive care unit. As of Tuesday, New Brunswick public health had conducted 155,253 tests.
Public Health has identified potential public exposure to the virus at the following locations:
- Miss Cue pool hall (495 Mountain Rd., Moncton in Zone 1);
- Dec. 31 at 11 p.m. to Jan. 1 at 1:30 a.m.
- Walmart (4 Jagoe St., Atholville in Zone 5);
- Dec. 30 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; and,
- Dec. 31 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If you were at any of these locations, and you have no symptoms of COVID-19, self-monitor and follow all Public Health guidelines. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and do not need to talk to a nurse, complete the self-assessment and get tested.
The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick's seven health zones:
- Zone 1 – Moncton region: 182 confirmed cases (31 active cases)
- Zone 2 – Saint John region: 132 confirmed cases (4 active case)
- Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 149 confirmed cases (31 active cases)
- Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 36 confirmed cases (6 active cases)
- Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 143 confirmed cases (6 active cases)
- Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 14 confirmed cases (1 active case)
- Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 6 confirmed cases (1 active cases)
SELF-MONITORING FOR SYMPTOMS
Public Health is reminding New Brunswickers of the importance of self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, such as:
- a new cough, or worsening chronic cough
- sore throat
- runny nose
- a new onset of fatigue
- loss of sense of taste
- loss of sense of smell
- in children, purple markings on the fingers and toes
VEHICLE TRAFFIC INFORMATION
New Brunswick's online dashboard also includes information about vehicle traffic attempting to enter the New Brunswick border.
On Monday, 1,518 personal and 1,044 commercial vehicles attempted to cross the border into the province.
Of the vehicles attempting to cross the border, 11 were refused entry, for a refusal rate of 0.4 per cent.