U.K variant of COVID-19 found in New Brunswick

Dr. Russell asks New Brunswickers not to gather for the Super Bowl, exposure notification announced

New Brunswick – In a live press briefing from Fredericton on Thursday, Feb. 4, Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, and Dorothy Shephard, minister of health, asked New Brunswickers to resist the urge to gather this weekend for the Super Bowl.

Having identified the U.K. variant of COVID-19 in three New Brunswickers this week, two in Zone 2, the Saint John region, which includes Charlotte County related to international travel and one in Zone 7, the Miramichi region related to travel within Canada, Russell reiterated the need for residents to stay home, not travel, and also not to make travel plans for March break.

Shephard and Russell reminded New Brunswickers even simple, cold-like symptoms can be COVID-19, with Shephard reminding residents this season, flu-like symptoms are far more likely to be COVID-19 and not seasonal influenza. Both said if you are experiencing any symptoms to call 811 to be tested.

During the Tuesday, Feb. 2 briefing, Premier Blaine Higgs said 20 per cent of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 cases were linked to travel and that 20 per cent sparked all other cases in the province.

Higgs reiterated the new provincial travel restrictions which were announced last week, and said residents should evaluate the need for all movements.

Higgs added regular cross border commuters would be subject to weekly testing, and the province would also be launching mandatory periodic testing for truck drivers, rail employees, those who work in the marine industry, and other such transient jobs.

He said as of Tuesday, 4,460 New Brunswickers had been fully vaccinated, and priority was remained on the vulnerable residents, and front line healthcare workers. He also referred to the national delay in vaccine delivery as “disappointing”.

Higgs also touched on the NB Small Business Recovery Grant as the application portal is now open.  When asked about the limitations on the grant – to qualify, businesses must have a minimum of two employees, something many small businesses in Charlotte County do not have – Higgs fumbled a response saying “The criteria was set so that we could actually understand the impact that it’s (COVID-19) had on businesses and the fact that they were, you know, registered businesses as such, and that’s why you had a minimum number of employees, because otherwise it could become quite difficult to manage or deal with effectively.”

The grant also only allows businesses to recover 15 per cent of the total revenue lost due to impacts of the Orange or Red phase of recovery, providing those impacts were felt for at least one week between October 10, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

For further information on eligibility and the application process, contact the Opportunities New Brunswick Business Navigators at nav@navnb.ca or 1-833-799-7966.

A full list of federal and provincial programs for businesses navigating through relief and recovery is available online.

Exposure notification

The following details are from a press release found on the GNB website:

On Feb. 2, Public Health identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Jan. 9 while on the following flight:

  • Air Canada Flight 8918 – from Toronto to Moncton departed at 8:30 a.m.