Coronavirus Canada Updates: New Brunswick revises COVID-19 vaccine strategy; reports four new cases

Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba reports 329 new COVID-19 cases, no deaths today
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba reports 329 new COVID-19 cases, no deaths today

Health officials in New Brunswick reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

All four cases are in the Zone 4 (Edmundston region).

Eleven of New Brunswick’s previously reported cases are now considered resolved, dropping the provinces active cases to 111.

In order to protect New Brunswick’s most vulnerable residents, the province announced they may have to delay the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines for those at lower risk.

“We are learning that a single dose is effective and we expect this can help those in need of protection for a period of time based on experience from other vaccines,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health.

Russel says the first dose offers more than 90 per cent protection starting 14 days after the shot.

“The recommended practice is to administer the second dose within 28 days. Some Canadian jurisdictions are now waiting for 42 days or more, but I should note that some countries are waiting up to 90 days between doses, including the United Kingdom, which has a significant amount of its people now vaccinated,” said Russell.

Russell says the province still plans to have the second dose administered as soon as possible and certainly within 90 days. She says the change is part of New Brunswick’s goal to maximize the number of vulnerable people receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have moved as quickly as we could with our campaign rollout given the uncertainty and certain availability of vaccines, but it has not been fast enough,” explained Russell. “We must get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of more new Brunswickers and we have to do it quickly.”

On Thursday, New Brunswick announced the Edmundston region (Zone 4) will be returning to the orange phase effective 12:01 a.m. on Friday. With the change, it means all zones in New Brunswick are currently at the orange level.

“I know the last several weeks have been very difficult for those living in Zone 4,” said Dorothy Shephard, the province’s minister of health. “I want to thank everyone in this region for following the rules and doing their part to move from lockdown, to the red level, and now to the orange level so quickly.”

“I am pleased that tomorrow the entire province will be Orange, which means many businesses can open with their operational plans in place, and we can all spend time with our steady 10 contacts,” said Shephard.

New Brunswick has had 1,411 cumulative confirmed cases since the pandemic began. In total, 1,275 people have recovered, and 24 people have died in the province from COVID-19.

Five people are in hospital with COVID-19, with one in the intensive care unit.

New Brunswick has completed 220,912 COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic.

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

Zone 1 – Moncton region: 332 confirmed cases (8 active cases)
Zone 2 – Saint John region: 222 confirmed cases (4 active cases)
Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 238 confirmed cases (3 active cases)
Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 402 confirmed cases (93 active cases)
Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 182 confirmed cases (no active cases)
Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 27 confirmed cases (3 active cases)
Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 8 confirmed cases (no active cases)

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