FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public Health has confirmed that two people have died as a result of COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the province to 101.

A person 80-89 in Zone 1 (Moncton region) and a person 70-79 in Zone 5 (Campbellton region) have died.

“Today we have reached a terrible milestone as we have lost two more people to COVID-19 and have surpassed 100 deaths as a result of this virus,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “With every death we have announced, there are loved ones left behind who are grieving their loss. Today, sadly, two more families are grieving.”

“We all share in the sadness of this loss and in the grief being experienced by the loved ones of the deceased,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “My sincerest and most heartfelt condolences go out to these families in their time of mourning. I hope there will be some comfort in knowing that every New Brunswicker grieves with you.”

Public Health reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 today and 63 recoveries. There are 763 active cases.

Of the new cases, 38 – or 57 per cent – are unvaccinated, four – or six per cent – are partially vaccinated, and 25 – or 37 per cent – are fully vaccinated.

Majority of cases in ICU remain unvaccinated

Of the 55 people hospitalized due to the virus, 27 are unvaccinated, five are partially vaccinated and 23 are fully vaccinated. There is currently one person 19 and under in the hospital. There are 16 people in an intensive care unit, 14 of whom are unvaccinated and two of whom are partially vaccinated.

Many of the 23 people who are fully vaccinated who are currently in the hospital did not have COVID-19 when they were admitted. They contracted the virus while hospitalized for other reasons due to the ongoing outbreaks at the Moncton Hospital and the Campbellton Regional Hospital.

“These fully vaccinated patients are generally experiencing mild symptoms,” Russell said. “But they must still be treated as COVID-19 patients requiring additional care and protective measures.”

Current circuit breaker measures to be extended

The provincial government announced today that the circuit breaker that has been in effect in certain areas of the province since Friday, Oct. 8 will be extended for at least seven more days, until Public Health determines the situation is more stable.

These areas are Zone 1 (Moncton region) as far north as and including Sainte-Anne-de-Kent and including Havelock in Zone 2; the northern portion of Zone 3 from and including Deerville and Florenceville-Bristol, but excluding Hayesville and Parker Ridge; and all of Zone 4 (Edmundston region).

“We have seen encouraging data since the circuit breaker measures went into effect, but it is still too early to know if cases in the affected areas will continue to steadily decline in the days ahead,” said Russell. “If we were to remove these measures now, without knowing for certain that we are experiencing a sustained downward trend in cases and hospitalizations, we could prolong the situation even further.”

Russell said the measures will be lifted when Public Health can confirm a sustained trend of decreasing numbers of cases and a decline in the seven-day average of new hospital admissions.

14-day circuit breaker in Zone 5 beginning at 6 p.m. on Oct. 22

The government also announced that Zone 5 (Campbellton region) will enter a 14-day circuit breaker beginning tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. to address the high number of COVID-19 transmissions in the region.

“I know this news is difficult for those living in Zone 5 and for those in the current circuit breaker areas, as you have worked hard,” said Higgs. “The numbers are slowly getting better, but the Delta variant is different from anything we have experienced before, and we need to treat it differently.”

More information about the circuit breaker rules, including a detailed list and map of affected communities, is available online.

New rules for positive rapid-test results

The mandatory order has been updated to state that anyone who receives a positive result from a rapid-test kit taken at home must immediately schedule an appointment for a lab-based PCR test at a Public Health assessment centre.

An appointment may be booked online or by calling 811. Anyone who fails to do so will be subject to fines. Peace officers will investigate information received through employer testing programs and from residents to ensure individuals are complying.

Rapid-test kits available for pickup at locations throughout province

Free rapid COVID-19 screening tests that people can administer at home are now available for those who have not tested positive for COVID-19.

On Wednesday, 7,333 rapid-test kits were distributed across the province.

The tests are designed for people two and older. Most kits have five tests to be used over a 10-day period. People 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult to acquire a kit.

All the locations will be open during their scheduled hours or until the daily supply has been given out. New supplies of test kits will continue to be delivered to the pickup locations throughout the week.

Anyone who has been directed by Public Health to isolate is not permitted to leave isolation if they receive a negative result from a rapid-test kit.

A full list of locations is available online for both Vitalité and Horizon health networks. More information on the rapid-test kits program is available online.

Vaccination update

Public Health reported today that 83.1 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 91.9 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine.

If you have not yet had your first or second dose, you are asked to go to a walk-in clinic or book an appointment through a participating pharmacy or at a Vitalité or Horizon health network clinic as soon as possible.

All eligible New Brunswickers can book their second-dose appointments for a date that is at least 28 days after their first dose.

Those attending a vaccination clinic are asked to bring their Medicare card, a signed consent form and, for those receiving their second dose, a copy of the record of immunization provided after receiving their first dose.

A list of upcoming mobile and walk-in clinics is available online.

Beginning the week of Oct. 25, health-care personnel – including those working in long-term care facilities – and residents of First Nations communities will be able to receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose if six months have passed since their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Details on booster doses for other groups will be available in the coming weeks.

Confirmed cases in schools and child-care facilities

Information on cases in schools is now available on the Healthy and Safe Schools website and the COVID-19 dashboard.

A new case has been confirmed at Garderie Power Play in Dieppe in Zone 1 (Moncton region). Affected families have been notified. If you or a family member have been in close contact with a case, you will be notified by Public Health or the facility for contact tracing. If you are not notified directly, you have not been identified as a close contact.

Since Sept. 7, 57 early learning and child-care facilities have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Regional breakdown of new cases

The 34 new cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:

  • 14 people 19 and under;
  • a person 20-29;
  • five people 40-49;
  • eight people 50-59;
  • five people 60-69; and
  • a person 80-89.

All cases are under investigation.

The 11 new cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region) are as follows:

  • three people 19 and under;
  • two people 30-39;
  • three people 40-49;
  • two people 50-59; and
  • a person 60-69.

Ten cases are under investigation and the other case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

The seven new cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) are as follows:

  • a person 19 and under;
  • two people 30-39;
  • two people 60-69; and
  • two people 80-89.

All cases are under investigation.

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

  • a person 19 and under;
  • a person 30-39;
  • two people 40-49;
  • four people 50-59;
  • two people 60-69; and
  • a person 70-79.

All cases are under investigation

The new case in Zone 5 (Campbellton region) is a person 90 and over. This case is under investigation.

The two new cases in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) are as follows:

  • a person 40-49; and
  • a person 80-89.

Both cases are under investigation

The one new case in Zone 7 (Miramichi region) is a person 90 and over. This case is under investigation.

Additional information is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Potential public exposures

Anyone with symptoms of the virus, as well as anyone who has been at the site of a possible public exposure, is urged to request a test online to get an appointment.

A map of potential public exposures can also be found on the COVID-19 dashboard.