New Brunswick health officials have identified 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 17 recoveries, dropping the total number of active infections in the province to 264.

Of Wednesday's new cases, four are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), and involve:

  • an individual 19 and under
  • an individual in their 20s
  • an individual in their 40s
  • an individual in their 60s

One case is in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) and involves an individual in their 50s.

Nine of the cases are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), and involve:

  • an individual in their 30s
  • an individual in their 40s
  • three people in their 50s
  • two people in their 60s
  • two people in their 70s

OUTBREAKS IN ZONE 4

After the province announced an outbreak at two nursing homes in Zone 4, Edmundston’s Deputy Mayor, Eric Marquis, says help has arrived at the long-term care homes.

“Some people that are living in those residences are having a really hard time,” said Marquis. “I know for a fact that my wife’s grandmother is living in one of those. She speaks to her everyday trying to keep her morale up.”

New Brunswick’s Liberal Leader, Roger Melanson, has suggested an EMO command post for Edmundston – a team that would do a full assessment of the situation, find gaps, and fill them immediately.

“There’s people who’ve actually suggested that the military should come in and help in our nursing homes,” said Melanson. “But let’s have an assessment for 24-hours to see if that’s really the right services that needs to be brought in.”

Melanson also suggests an increase in testing, all of which he plans to discuss around the Covid-cabinet committee table Wednesday night.

POTENTIAL FOR INCREASE IN RESTRICTIONS

With New Brunswick identifying COVID-19 variant cases in the province, some believe tighter restrictions are also on the way.

“I see other provinces coming up with even stricter guidelines already in Canada,” said Melanson. “So, I don’t know what’s going to happen moving forward in terms of guidelines, but I do know one thing. New Brunswickers need to be fully aware that this new variant is way more aggressive.”

“Local and provincial public health has to be really, very cautious about their relaxation of measures,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, on Tuesday.

Tam says the country is in a delicate time as vaccines are just starting to roll out and the arrival of variant cases are beginning to transmit through communities. 

“We probably are not detecting them all because some of the cases in individual provinces haven’t been linked back to travel,” explained Tam. “So, this is the initial signal that we need to be very vigilant and very cautious about the relaxation of those public health measures.”

COVID-19 DATA

New Brunswick has had 1,302 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. In total, 1,019 people have recovered, and 18 people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.

Five people are currently in hospital, with three in the intensive care unit, according to public health.

Public health says 1,505 COVID-19 tests were completed on Saturday – 204,795 tests have been administered in total since the pandemic began.

The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:

  • Zone 1 – Moncton region: 320 confirmed cases (59 active cases)
  • Zone 2 – Saint John region: 217 confirmed cases (14 active cases)
  • Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 233 confirmed cases (12 active cases)
  • Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 318 confirmed cases (172 active cases)
  • Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 182 confirmed cases (3 active cases)
  • Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 24 confirmed cases (2 active cases)
  • Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 8 confirmed cases (2 active cases)

RED AND ORANGE LEVEL RULES / LOCKDOWN

Zone 1 (Moncton region) remains at the Red level and Zone 4 (Edmundston region) remains in lockdown.

All other zones are at the Orange level.

UPDATE ON VACCINES

According to New Brunswick's COVID-19 dashboard, the province has administered 17,277 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of Feb. 1. Of those, 4,460 people have received their second dose.

The province has received 21,675 doses of vaccine as of Feb. 1, and are holding 4,398 in reserve for second dose and planned clinics.

VEHICLE TRAFFIC INFORMATION

New Brunswick's online dashboard includes information about vehicle traffic attempting to enter the province.

On Tuesday, 865 personal and 876 commercial vehicles attempted to cross the border into the province.

Of the vehicles attempting to cross the border, 8 were refused entry, for a refusal rate of 0.5 per cent.