N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Masks return to schools as ‘spike’ of 122 new cases reported

New Brunswick has recorded a big bump in positive COVID-19 cases related to Campbellton and Moncton clusters, with multiple schools and daycares closed on Monday.

The province announced 122 new cases on Monday, accumulated over the weekend, with new cases in every one of the seven health zones.

Positive cases have been detected in 11 schools and three childcare facilities in the Moncton, Fredericton and Campbellton regions, health zones 1, 3 and 5. There are now 229 active cases in New Brunswick.

The Moncton region has 71 active cases, driven by the alpha variant. The spread in the rest of the province is driven by the delta variant.

“New Brunswick is experiencing a spike in new COVID-19 infections,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said at a briefing on Monday afternoon.
Eleven people are in hospital because of COVID-19, and nine of them are in the intensive care unit. This is the highest number of ICU patients since the province moved to the green phase of recovery and removed COVID-19 restrictions.

Russell said most of the people infected have not been vaccinated. She said transmission has been happening in households, and from adults to children. She said people who aren’t vaccinated are putting their own health and well-being at risk.

“You’re also putting at risk the health of our children and their ability to stay in school … as well as other vulnerable New Brunswickers,” Russell said.

She said it’s not too late to get vaccinated as the province’s two health networks continue to hold first and second dose vaccine clinics. People who get vaccinated are less likely to get infected and less likely to become seriously ill, Russell said.

Education Minister Dominic Cardy, Russell and Premier Blaine Higgs provided the update at a news briefing Monday in Fredericton.
Cardy announced new rules as a result of positive cases being detected in multiple schools and daycares.

Effective Tuesday, Cardy said, students of all ages in all schools must wear a mask in school and while on buses for the next two weeks. The masks can be removed when students are eating, drinking or engaged in sports or physical education classes. The province will reassess these rules on Sept. 27.

On top of that, there will be additional measures for schools in the Campbellton and Dalhousie regions until at least Sept. 24, Cardy said.

For the 10 schools in the region, students will have to wear masks in class as well as common areas. There will also be no new extracurricular activities introduced aside from those already underway, contact between students in different classrooms will be reduced, and teachers who are fully vaccinated will not be able to remove their masks except in classrooms.