FREDERICTON (GNB) – The first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 is expected to arrive in the province on Tuesday.

The vaccine will be distributed throughout the province and it is anticipated that the first doses will be administered before the end of the week through regional health authority community clinics and participating pharmacies.

About 54,500 children will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Public Health reported today that 87.5 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 93.4 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine.

Health-care personnel – including those working in long-term care facilities – and residents of First Nations communities can now book an appointment to receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose if six months have passed since their second dose of a vaccine. They must bring their proof of vaccination, i.e. immunization record, to their appointment.

People 65 and older and school personnel are permitted to book an appointment to receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose if six months have passed since their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Fully vaccinated people who have received one or two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in their series are permitted to book an appointment to receive an mRNA booster dose if 28 days have passed since their second dose.

International travellers with mixed first two doses of vaccine products are eligible to book an appointment to receive a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This applies to anyone who must travel outside of North America for work, education or medical procedures. A booster dose of an mRNA vaccine will be available as long as a 28-day interval has passed since their previous dose.

A detailed list of those eligible for a booster dose is available online.

Appointments for first and second doses, as well as a booster dose for those eligible, can be scheduled for a regional health authority community COVID-19 vaccination clinic through the online booking system or at a participating pharmacy. Residents of First Nations communities can also book an appointment at a community clinic.

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

55 recoveries and 62 new cases

Public Health reported today that 55 people have recovered from COVID-19 and there are 62 new cases of the virus, with the number of active cases at 647.

There are 15 people in intensive care and another 18 in hospital for a total of 33 people hospitalized. No one under 19 is currently hospitalized.

The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU, as well as new cases, continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated. Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations based on vaccination status is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Outbreak declared at Lantern House in Saint John

Public Health has declared an outbreak at Lantern House, a rooming house in Saint John.

Following confirmation of four positive cases, members of the Provincial Rapid Outbreak Management Team were deployed. A round of testing will take place today, followed by another round later this week.

Regional breakdown of new cases

The 20 new cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:

•           six people 19 and under;

•           a person 20-29;

•           three people 30-39;

•           seven people 40-49;

•           a person 50-59; and

•           two people 60-69.

Thirteen cases are under investigation and seven are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

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

•           two people 19 and under;

•           two people 20-29;

•           a person 30-39;

•           two people 40-49; and

•           a person 50-59.

One case is under investigation and seven cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The 24 new cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) are as follows:

•           eight people 19 and under;

•           four people 20-29;

•           five people 30-39;

•           three people 40-49; and

•           four people 50-59.

Seventeen cases are under investigation and seven are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

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

•           two people 20-29; and

•           a person 40-49.

All three cases are under investigation.

The seven new cases in Zone 7 (Miramichi region) are as follows:

•           a person 19 and under;

•           two people 40-49;

•           three people 50-59; and

•           a person 60-69.

Five cases are under investigation and two are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Additional information is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Confirmed cases in schools and child-care facilities

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

Cases have been confirmed at Nackawic Childcare and Totally Kids Daycare, both located in Zone 3 (Fredericton region). New cases have also been confirmed at Joy Pre-School in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), Spring Roots Early Learning & Child Care Centre in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), Love and Learn Child Care Center in Zone 1 (Moncton region) and Petitcodiac Boys & Girls Club's Early Learning Centre in Zone 1 (Moncton region), all of which were previously impacted. 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, 85 early learning and child-care facilities have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Rapid testing program to roll out in child-care facilities

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has collaborated with Public Health to expand the rapid-testing program for schools to include early learning and child-care facilities.

Beginning today, children two years and older and staff at child-care facilities who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case will be provided with either a five-,10- or 15-day supply of rapid tests, depending on the last possible exposure date to the confirmed case, along with instructions. Kits may be provided directly through the facility’s operator.

Children attending child care will be required to self-isolate for a period of at least 24 hours while they take their first two rapid tests. Unless otherwise advised by Public Health, learners will be able to return to child care once they have recorded two negative tests and if they have no symptoms. They will be required to continue to test daily until the end of the period as prescribed by Public Health through instructions they receive with their kits.

Children and staff, regardless of vaccination status, must stay home and get a PCR test through Public Health if they have received notification that they are a close contact and have even one symptom or receive a positive result on a rapid test. Children or staff who are household contacts of confirmed cases are not eligible to participate in the program and must follow isolation requirements set out by Public Health.

Isolation reminder

Any household in New Brunswick with a positive case of COVID-19 must isolate for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status.

Household members who are fully vaccinated will be able to leave isolation with a day-five negative PCR test. A day-10 PCR test must still be taken to confirm the negative result.

Those who violate the Public Health order to self-isolate face a fine of between $480 and $20,400.

Potential public exposures

Anyone with two or more symptoms of the virus is urged to request a test online to get an appointment.

If you have been at the site of a possible public exposure, but remain asymptomatic, you may be able to pick up a rapid-screening kit (while supplies last).

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