New Brunswick health is reporting two deaths caused by COVID-19 in residents of a Saint John long-term care facility.

The deaths involve two residents of Lily Court, of Parkland Saint John's Tucker Hall, who died Tuesday morning as a result of underlying complications including COVID-19. One of the residents was in their 80s and one in their 70s.

Lily Court is one of the neighbourhoods inside  Tucker Hall, which is where Nancy Cogger's 93-year-old father lives.

"To not be able to do anything to keep your parent safe, it's devastating," said Cogger. "I think we need to move to the next stage and say, 'how do we stop the spread of this disease through this home,' and it's through the vaccine."

“I join New Brunswickers in offering my heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of these two people,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “You are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. I encourage everyone who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. Do not take chances with your health, the health of your loved ones or of others in the community.”

“Marcia and I are saddened to learn of this loss,” added Premier Blaine Higgs. “On behalf of all New Brunswickers, we offer our sincere condolences to their families and friends.”

In a statement on their website, Shannex confirmed the deaths occurred in one of their neighbourhoods called Lily Court, which is inside Tucker Hall, home to residents living with Alzheimer's and dementia.

“I have had the opportunity to speak with the family and there are no words that can ease the pain they are feeling,” expressed Jason Shannon, President and COO, Shannex Inc. “We know, even in normal circumstances, the void this leaves, but it’s worse in a pandemic because they could not spend quality time with their loved one in their final days. This is very difficult for the family and it is difficult for our team members who delivered their care. We are thinking of them during this time.”

Shannon says that said other Parkland Saint John residents who have tested positive are being cared for. Health officials announced last week that they were dealing with 15 new cases of COVID-19 in the residence.

Tuesday's deaths bring the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 11. The province last reported a COVID-19 related death on Dec. 31.

17 NEW CASES REPORTED

New Brunswick has announced 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. No recoveries were reported on Tuesday, as the number of active cases in the province increases to 219, 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 Tuesday, New Brunswick Health reported four cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) four cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region), four cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), four cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), and one case in Zone 5 (Campbellton region).

The four cases in Zone 1 (Moncton) involve:

  • An individual in their 30s
  • Two individuals in their 50s
  • An individual in their 60s

The four cases in Zone 2 (Saint John) involve:

  • An individual 19 and under
  • An individual in their 60s
  • An individual in their 80s
  • An individual in their 90s and over

The four cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton) involve:

  • An individual 19 and under
  • An individual in their 30s
  • An individual in their 40s
  • An individual in their 50s

The four cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston) involve:

  • An individual 19 and under
  • An individual in their 40s
  • An individual in their 50s
  • An individual in their 60s

The one case in Zone 5 (Campbellton) involves:

  • An individual in their 50s

The New Brunswick government says all cases are self-isolating and being investigated.

NEW CASE AT FREDERICTON REGION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

N.B. health is reporting a new positive case at an elementary school in the Fredericton region (Zone 3).

The province says a positive case was confirmed at New Maryland Elementary School on Monday.

Public Health says the majority of students returned to school today, with the exception of a Grade 2 class that learned from home.

Public health will be reaching out to close contacts for contact tracing, and students should return to school unless advised otherwise by public health.

VACCINE ROLL-OUT

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.

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.

CASE BREAKDOWN

New Brunswick has had 817 cumulative cases of COVID-19. 586 have recovered, and there have been 12 deaths.

There is currently no one in hospital due to COVID-19. 

As of Tuesday, New Brunswick has conducted 164,885 tests.

CASE LOCATIONS

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

  • Zone 1 – Moncton region: 208 total confirmed cases (54 active cases)
  • Zone 2 – Saint John region: 171 total (39 active cases)
  • Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 190 total (70 active cases)
  • Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 63 total (29 active cases)
  • Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 164 total (26 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 Monday, 1,293 personal and 1,170 commercial vehicles attempted to cross the border into the province.

Of the vehicles attempting to cross the border, 17 were refused entry, for a refusal rate of 0.7 per cent.