New Brunswick has reported 14 new infections, with eight being in Zone 4 of the Edmundston region, which has largely remained the critical focus of attention, Dr. Jennifer Russell, Chief Medical Officer, said.
Health officials said they suspect that about 82 percent of the 100 infections in this region are highly transmissible U.K variant.
A circuit breaker that the health officials initiated this past week seems to be working, Dr. Russell said, but added that they need a little more time.
However, she noted, it is not easy to tell how much more time they need. Health officials will monitor the current situation each day, maintaining a close eye on hospital admissions and capacity regarding staff numbers and available beds.
Dorothy Shephard, Health Minister, said they are confident that the red alert level won’t last long. People in the area continue to adhere to restriction measures, minimize travel, and get tested for the virus whenever they experience symptoms.
Health officials say they have traced all infections in the Edmundston area, including all previous infections.
They also said that with the changes in the use of AstraZeneca, it is not likely that persons below 55 years who get their first jab of the vaccine will be scheduled for the second one of this vaccine.
Last Monday, health officials said they had stopped the issuance of the vaccine to persons below 55 years following the endorsements of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. This comes after mounting concerns across Europe over the cases of people in this age range developing blood clots.
However, an immunization appointment for persons aged 55 and above to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca is currently underway for the Thursday session. It is said that within three hours of its announcement, slots filled up quickly. Currently, there are about 240 confirmed appointments.
In the meantime, teachers are asking that in-person learning be postponed in some places. They say that full-time in-class teaching should be postponed for high schools in areas impacted by vaccination rescheduling for all teachers, N. B’s teachers’ association said.
Immunization of teachers with AstraZeneca has been planned to prepare them for a return to class starting April. However, that schedule was postponed in three areas with 10 schools after it was decided that persons below must never be immunized with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.