COVID-19 outbreak in zone 5 ended as New Brunswick warns against holiday gatherings

New Brunswick says the COVID-19 outbreak in zone 5, or the Campbellton-area, has been declared over, the province’s health officials announced on Thursday.

That outbreak in Campbellton began on Oct. 9, and although zone 5 was moved out of the province’s heightened COVID-19 response on Nov. 5, it took until now for the province to declare the outbreak over.

Read more: New Brunswick reports 6 new COVID-19 cases, potential exposure on flight

“It really was a collective effort,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, said at the provincial COVID-19 update Thursday.

Outbreaks are only declared after two 14-day cycles have passed without a new case appearing in the area.

Six additional cases

The province reported six additional cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

The new figures push New Brunswick to 111 active cases.

There have been 520 cases in the province since the pandemic began, 408 of which are now considered recovered.

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There have been 7 deaths related to the coronavirus in the province.

New Brunswick has completed 129,970 tests since the outbreak began.

Saint John to lag behind Moncton and Fredericton

Russell announced on Thursday that the province had completed another round of testing at the Parkland nursing home in Saint John, which has an ongoing outbreak.

In this round of testing, no more residents tested positive, Russell said.

One employee, who had already been self-isolating, tested positive.

There are currently 16 confirmed cases linked to the site, six employees and 10 residents.

Read more: How New Brunswick’s four-step plan to recover from COVID-19 works

At this time the Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton zones remain under the orange phase of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

Premier Blaine Higgs said that he hopes to see the Moncton and Fredericton zones transition to the yellow phase soon.

Russell said officials will re-assess the Moncton and Fredericton zones on Sunday.

Saint John will likely lag behind the two other zones, Higgs said.

The premier also provided more information on how many people have been ticketed for violating the province’s COVID-19 restrictions.

He said that between Nov. 20 and Nov. 28, 87 tickets were handed out for not following the province’s masking guidelines.

In Moncton the province handed out 45 tickets while 40 tickets were handed out in Saint John and two tickets were handed out in Fredericton.

Higgs also said the province issued 38 tickets to business for various COVID-19-related infractions.

He said 17 of those tickets were handed out in Moncton, 21 were in Saint John and none were issued in Fredericton.

“I was very supportive of our surveillance of following the rules and as I said a little earlier, I certainly commend our officers for their diligence,” said Higgs.

‘Make the most out Christmas with COVID’

During the COVID-19 update, Higgs and Russell asked New Brunswickers to prepare for a different kind of holiday season this year.

They both stressed that COVID-19 is likely to make large gatherings impossible if not dangerous.

Russell stressed that this is not the year to spend the holidays in an exotic locale and that non-essential travel is not being advised at this time.

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She said that residents should get creative and focus on what they can do, rather than focusing on what they can’t.

Family who are travelling from outside the province into New Brunswick must self-isolate the entire time, or if they are spending fewer than 14 days, the entirety of their visit, Russell said.

The province has since released guidance for individuals and for businesses on its website.

Higgs offered his own personal decision-making for this holiday season.

He said his two daughters and their families will not be travelling home to New Brunswick for Christmas and that he will have to celebrate his mother’s 100th birthday virtually, rather than in person.

“Let’s make the most out of Christmas with COVID,” Higgs said.

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