The area in which the Red level applies in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) has been extended. Beginning at midnight tonight, Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls will be included along with the previously indicated areas of Edmundston and the upper Madawaska region.

Public Health made the recommendation to the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19 and to cabinet to extend the area in which the Red level applies, with the exception of the Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick regions, based on the confirmed presence of the more contagious variants of COVID-19 along with the possibility of community transmission.

A total of 3,335 asymptomatic individuals were screened over a two-day period, March 25 and 26, in Zone 4 (Edmundston region). Test results from both days resulted in three laboratory confirmed cases. This is in addition to other cases that have been confirmed with people presenting with symptoms.

Clinics using AstraZeneca vaccine postponed

Following an announcement that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is recommending the AstraZeneca not be used at this time for people under 55, the provincial government has paused giving the vaccine to those in that age group but will continue using it for those over 55 as there have not been any serious effects noted. Planned clinics using that vaccine have been postponed and will be rescheduled. The committee made the recommendation following concerns in Europe due to rare cases of people under 55 having blood clots up to 20 days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Of the 20 million doses of the vaccine administered in Europe, there have been 25 incidents of this happening or about one in a million. Given the rarity of serious side effects and the fact that COVID-19 has killed 15,000 Canadians so far, with one in 100 who get COVID-19 requiring intensive care and that one in five Canadians hospitalized with COVID-19 develop blood clots, the risk from the vaccine is very low.

No serious adverse events have been reported in Canada associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine or from any of the other COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who experiences severe, persistent symptoms following any vaccine, should go to the nearest emergency department immediately. Further information for those who have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is available online.

“While we have seen no cause for concern, we are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution pending further guidance from Health Canada,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.

11 new cases

Public Health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 today.

The 11 cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) are as follows:

  • three people 19 and under. These cases are a contact of a previous case;
  • two people 30-39. Both cases are under investigation;
  • three people 40-49. Two cases are under investigation and one is a contact of a previous case;
  • an individual 50-59. This case is under investigation; and
  • two people 60-69. One case is a contact of a previous case and the other is under investigation.

All of the cases are self-isolating.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,588. Since yesterday, five people have recovered for a total of 1,437 recoveries. There have been 30 deaths, and the number of active cases is 114. Four patients are hospitalized including two in an intensive care unit. Yesterday, 1,090 tests were conducted for a total of 253,322.

Exposure notification

Public Health follows a standard process when addressing instances where the public may have been exposed to a case of COVID-19. In cases where record-keeping is able to identify anyone who may have been exposed, officials contact these individuals directly and do not issue a separate announcement. In cases where officials cannot be certain of exactly who may have been exposed to the virus in a given location, Public Health issues an announcement to alert those who could have been affected and provides instructions.

Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following location in Edmundston:

  • Sparta Progression Gym, 113 D 44th Ave., on March 22 between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Reminder for schools in areas at the Red level

Students and school staff in areas at the Red level are reminded that they must stay home if they have even one symptom of COVID-19. Additional screening practices will be in place for staff when they report to work each day. If a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed at a school in an area at the Red level, the school will be closed for a minimum of three days to allow for contact tracing and testing of staff. Full directives for schools in areas at the Red level are available on the Return to School website.

“Based on the experience and knowledge we have gained this year, we know how important school is to support the mental and physical well-being of students,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “When students are at school, they are in a supervised environment with strict health and safety protocols in place. Their social needs can be met, while maintaining physical distancing, using masks, and being encouraged to maintain proper hygiene. We are working with school districts and Public Health to keep schools healthy, safe and open.”

All schools in Zone 4, with the exception of École Mgr-Martin and Polyvalente A.-J.-Savoie which are both in Saint-Quentin and École Marie-Gaétane in Kedgwick, will follow Red level protocols.

Due to significant operational pressures, Cité des Jeunes A.-M.-Sormany in Edmundston, Grades 9-12 at Polyvalente Thomas-Albert in Grand-Falls, École Saint-Jacques, and Grades 9-12 at École Grande-Rivière in Saint-Léonard have all shifted to distance learning for this week. Parents are encouraged to watch for communication from schools in the event of additional closures.

Vaccination clinics for staff at high schools

Vaccination clinics for today and Tuesday, March 30, have been postponed. More detailed information about the rescheduled clinic dates and registration will be sent directly to the appropriate school staff.

The following schools will therefore be open on Tuesday, March 30:

  • Dalhousie Regional High School
  • Sugarloaf Senior High School in Campbellton
  • École Aux Quatre Vents in Dalhousie
  • Polyvalente Roland-Pépin in Campbellton
  • Bathurst High School
  • École Secondaire Népisiguit in Bathurst
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Reminder of Yellow and Red levels

Except for the areas designated as Red level in Zone 4, all other zones and communities remain in the Yellow level, under the province’s mandatory order.

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