FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government announced that, beginning today, people 80 and older, other regulated health professionals who have close contact with patients, and people with complex medical conditions are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those 80 and older, or a caregiver or family member acting on their behalf, can now make an appointment with a pharmacy.

Regulated health professionals, including dentists, physiotherapists and optometrists, will be notified by their professional associations when they are eligible to book an appointment.

People with complex medical conditions are asked to review the list of select conditions included online prior to making an appointment and to print a copy of the declaration form. Those who meet the requirements may book an appointment online for a vaccination clinic organized by one of the regional health authorities.

The provincial government also announced today that all residents of long-term care facilities have had the opportunity to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, on Friday, March 19, the first dose of the vaccine will be available to all residents of First Nations communities aged 16 and over.

“We are making excellent progress on our vaccination plan and have made great strides towards protecting our most vulnerable residents,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “We are now able to begin providing the vaccine to more groups. However, if you are not in one of the eligible groups, please do not try to make an appointment at this time.”

Rotational workers

As of Friday, March 26, at 11:59 p.m., rotational workers will no longer be required to self-isolate if they have received their first dose of vaccine and 14 days have passed. At this time, they will be required to undergo day five and day 10 COVID-19 testing upon their return to New Brunswick.

If a rotational worker does not get vaccinated, they will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days, as will anyone else living in the same household, with mandatory day 10 testing.

“Every traveller who enters New Brunswick comes with a level of risk,” Shephard said. “Testing rotational workers will provide us with an extra layer of security and will allow us to track the virus.”

Travel bubble

The Atlantic travel bubble within New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador will reopen by April 19. This means New Brunswickers will be permitted to travel to those provinces without being required to self-isolate upon their return. This is conditional upon cases of COVID-19 remaining low.

At the same time, New Brunswick will also bubble with Témiscouata, Avignon and Listiguj First Nation in Quebec. Residents planning to travel from these communities into New Brunswick must not have travelled outside those regions within the last 14 days or must have received the first dose of the vaccine at least 14 days prior.

“While we all welcome the return of a travel bubble, it is important to remember that cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across Canada,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “Coupled with the increase in cases of the variants we are seeing, that is cause for concern. If you are travelling, even within the bubble, please ensure you follow all Public Health directives so we can continue to limit the spread of the virus.”

Seven new cases

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

The one case in Zone 1 (Moncton region) is as follows:

  • an individual 20-29. The case is linked to a previous case and the individual is self-isolating.

The one case in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) is as follows:

  • an individual 30-39. This case is travel-related, and the individual is self-isolating.

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

  • two people 20-29;
  • an individual 50-59;
  • an individual 60-69; and;
  • an individual 70-79.

These cases are linked to previous cases and all are self-isolating.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,484.  Since yesterday, one person has recovered for a total of 1,405 recoveries There have been 30 deaths, and the number of active cases is 48. One patient is hospitalized. Yesterday, 810 tests were conducted for a total 243,016.

Exposure notifications

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 locations in Edmundston:

  • McDonald’s Restaurant, 190 Hébert Blvd., on March 13 between 8:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.
  • Grey Rock Casino & Valley View Restaurant, 100 Chief Joanna Blvd., on March 14

Public Health has also identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on March 7 while on the following flights:

  • Air Canada Flight 414 – from Toronto to Montreal, departed at 2:18 p.m.
  • Air Canada Flight 8906 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 7 p.m.

People who travelled on these flights should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the flight. Should any COVID-19 symptoms develop, they are directed to self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or to call 811 to get tested.

Reminder of Yellow level

All zones are in the Yellow level under the province’s mandatory order.