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N.B. COVID-19 roundup: First children get pediatric COVID vaccine, outbreaks at Saint John hospital –



Ninety-nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday as the province began vaccinating children five to 11 years old to try to slow the spread of the virus.

In Fredericton, brothers Max and Luc Corman were the first to receive their first doses of the pediatric vaccine.  

About 9,300 children have appointments booked to get vaccinated, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters at the legislature Friday morning.  

“I am heartened that so many young New Brunswickers have received their first dose of vaccine and that even more have appointments to do so in the coming weeks,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement. 

To meet the demand for vaccinations, new clinics have been added in the Moncton and Fredericton region, the province said. 

More than 130 pharmacies will also take part in dispensing doses of the vaccine for children, receiving shipments between Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, the province added.

More information is expected soon on when appointments at the pharmacies will become available.

Horizon Health Network has declared COVID-19 outbreaks in two units of Saint John Regional Hospital. (CBC News file photo)

Outbreaks declared at Saint John Regional Hospital

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared in two units at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Horizon Health Network said in a news release Friday evening.

Outbreaks were declared in the orthopedic surgery (3CS) and internal medicine (4CN) units after a patient on each unit tested positive for COVID-19, communications advisor Kris McDavid said in the release.

He noted Horizon has implemented “comprehensive infection prevention and control precautions” as well as contact tracing to protect the health of patients and staff.

“Patient and staff in affected units are being tested,” McDavid said. “So far, no further cases have been identified. Inpatients are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms … every 12 hours.”

There will be no patient admissions or transfers to and from these units during this time and the Designated Support Person (DSP) program will be temporarily suspended on these units.

Surgeries, labour and birth services, ambulatory care and professional services appointments will continue, McDavid said in the release. 

787 active cases across province

Along with the 99 new cases of COVID on Friday, Public health reported 55 more recoveries, putting the province’s active case count at 787, up from 743.

Fifty-six people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 18 in intensive care, according to the daily news release. 

The one person under 19 who has hospitalized because of COVID-19 Thursday is no longer in hospital. 

A total of 87.8 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 or older are now fully vaccinated, up from 87.7 per cent, and 93.5 per cent have received their first dose, unchanged from the last update. 

New Brunswick has had 8,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including 7,176 recoveries and 123 COVID-related deaths.

Moncton region still leading in new cases

(CBC News)

The new cases break down this way:

Moncton region, Zone 1 — 48 cases:

  • 19 people 19 and under
  • Seven people 20 to 29
  • 10 people 30 to 39
  • Three people 40 to 49
  • Five people 50 to 59
  • Two people 60 to 69
  • Two people 70 to 79

Thirty-one  are under investigation and 17 are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Saint John region, Zone 2 — 23 cases:

  • Seven people 19 and under
  • Three people 20 to 29
  • Five people 30 to 39
  • Two people 40 to 49
  • Three people 50 to 59
  • Two people 60 to 69
  • A person 70 to 79

Twelve cases are the contacts of previously confirmed cases and 11 are under investigation.

Fredericton region, Zone 3 — 15 cases:

  • Three people 19 and under
  • Three people 20 to 29
  • A person 30 to 39
  • Four people 40 to 49
  • Three 50 to 59
  • A person 60 to 69

Eight cases are under investigation and seven are the contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Campbellton region, Zone 5 — two cases:

  • A person 20 to 29
  • A person 50 to 59

Both remain under investigation.

Bathurst region, Zone 6 — three cases:

  • A person 19 and under
  • A person 40 to 49
  • A person 50 to 59

Two cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and one is travel-related.

Miramichi region, Zone 7 — eight cases:

  • Five people 19 and under
  • A person 30 to 39
  • Two people 50 to 59.

Two cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and six are under investigation.

More cases at the Moncton Hospital

A total of 23 patients and five staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Moncton Hospital as of Friday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says. 

“All the patients effected are being tested again today and staff will be tested early next week,” she said. 

On Wednesday, the cases at the hospital totalled 20, including three in intensive care.

7 schools currently affected 

Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at seven schools, the COVID-19 dashboard shows.

Thirty-six schools are currently impacted.

Three schools joined the list Thursday, including Millerton Elementary and Junior High School in the Miramichi region, and Centennial School and Bayview School in the Saint John region.

The four other schools with active cases are Gretna Green School in the Miramichi region, École Le Sommet in the Monction region, Devon Middle School in the Frederiction region, and Forest Hills School in the Saint John region. 

A total of 495 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at 141 schools since the beginning of the school year.

A case has also been confirmed at the Boys & Girls Club of Saint John After School in the Saint John region. 

New cases have also been confirmed at a several previously impacted facilities including Origins Natural Learning Centre in the Saint John region, Spring Roots Early Learning and Childcare Centre inthe Fredericton region, Northend Learning Center and Causerie Amicale in the Moncton region.

“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,” Public Health said. “If you are not notified directly, you have not been identified as a close contact.”

A total of 90 early learning child-care centres have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Sept. 7

New public exposure notices

Public Health shared new public exposure notices on Friday:

Saint John region, Zone 2:

  • Nove. 23 between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – Giant Tiger (100 Prince Edward St., Saint John)
  • Nov. 20 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. – Brilliant Smoke Shop (122 Lansdowne Ave., Saint John)
  • Nov. 20 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – JJ’s Diner (216 Roachville Rd., Sussex)
  • Nov. 18 and 19 between 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. – Brilliant Smoke Shop (122 Lansdowne Ave., Saint John)
  • Nov. 13 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. – Vito’s (324 Rothesay Ave., Saint John)

Acadie-Bathurst region, Zone 6:

  • Nov. 23 between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (3455 Main St., Tracadie-Sheila)

Nov. 14 between 6 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. – Knights of Columbus (4293 Beauregard St., Tracadie-Sheila

For the full list of new and previous public exposure notices, please visit the provincial government’s website.

People who have not been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure and who have symptoms should get a COVID lab test. They can book an appointment online or call Tele-Care 811 and must isolate while waiting for their test result.

People who are not fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms are now being instructed to pick up an At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Point of Care Test (Rapid POCT) screening kit. They do not need to isolate if they have not been directed by Public Health to do so.

All positive point-of-care test results must be confirmed with a laboratory polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test.

It can take up to 14 days to test positive after being exposed to COVID-19, so even if results come back negative, people should continue to self-monitor for any symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

They should also avoid visiting settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and shelters during that 14-day period.

For people who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to a possible exposure, Public Health recommends they monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the possible exposure and get a COVID lab test if symptoms develop.

They do not need to isolate while they wait for their test results.

If they do not have symptoms, they can pick up a rapid test kit and do not need to isolate.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should stay at home, call 811 or their doctor and follow instructions.

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Microsoft offers strong forecast, lifting shares



Microsoft Corp on Tuesday forecast revenue for the current quarter broadly ahead of Wall Street targets, driven in part by its Intelligent Cloud unit.

The outlook soothed concerns about growth sparked by results for the December quarter, which initially dragged on Microsoft’s shares in after-hours trade. But the shares reversed course following the outlook, trading 3% above the closing price.

Investors were seeking assurances that the enterprise cloud business is still growing strongly and got it from Microsoft.

“So the quarter itself was, ho hum. Good, but not as great as we’ve seen past quarters,” said Brent Thill, an analyst at Jefferies. “But then the guidance for the third quarter really turned the tape around and saved the Nasdaq, if you will.”

Thill said Microsoft’s guidance that Azure revenue would be up sequentially was strong assurance that cloud demand was solid.

Microsoft forecast Intelligent Cloud revenue of $18.75 billion-$19 billion for its fiscal third quarter, driven by “strong growth” in its Azure platform. That compared with a Wall Street consensus of $18.15 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Thill said the strong momentum for cloud computing benefiting Microsoft will likely also be reflected in upcoming results for rivals Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Microsoft delivered strong outlooks in other areas, too.

The More Computing unit expects revenue of $14.15 billion-$14.45 billion for the third quarter, ahead of the Wall Street target of $13.88 billion, and Productivity and Business Processes of $15.6 billion-$15.85 billion compared with the consensus target of $15.72 billion.

Full-year operating margins are forecast to be up slightly from the previous year.

Microsoft’s total second-quarter revenue beat expectations but Azure revenue growth of 46% was only in line with analyst expectations as compiled by Visible Alpha. The Azure growth showed a steady drop from fiscal 2020 when growth was in the 60% range.

Microsoft has become one of the most valuable companies in the world by betting heavily on corporate software and services, especially its cloud services and the movement to the web of its Outlook email and calendar software, known as Office 365, which benefited from the switch to working and learning from home during the pandemic. Demand for cloud services from Microsoft and rivals and Alphabet also benefited from the pandemic-fueled shift online.

Revenue from Microsoft’s biggest segment, which offers cloud services and includes Azure, its flagship cloud offering, rose 26%, while the business that houses its Office 365 services increased 19% in the quarter.

Net income rose to $18.77 billion, or $2.48 per share, from $15.46 billion, or $2.03 per share, a year earlier.

The company said revenue rose to $51.73 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $43.08 billion a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $50.88 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Investors are also focused on Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc, announced on Jan. 18, a huge expansion for its gaming division. It also broadens the company’s efforts in the so-called metaverse, or the merging of online and offline worlds, which will have corporate and consumer applications.

Microsoft said the Activision Blizzard deal would help boost Xbox content and services revenue. Growth has fallen sharply from a high in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 when Xbox content and services grew 65%. In the past quarter, revenue rose 10%, while in the year-ago quarter it rose 40%.

“They have a ton of great content and franchises. And that’s where that revenue would eventually come in when the deal lands, for sure,” said Brett Iversen, general manager, investor relations at Microsoft, referring to the Activision deal.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru, Jane Lanhee Lee in Oakland, California, and Danielle Kaye in New YorkEditing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Peter Henderson, Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler)

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Cybertrucks, new factories in focus as Tesla set to report record earnings



Tesla Inc is expected to post record revenue on Wednesday, but analysts and investors are focusing on how fast Tesla can scale up production at two new factories this year with technology changes as well as battery and other supply chain constraints clouding the outlook.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk promises an updated product roadmap on Wednesday, with eyes on the time frames for the launch of Cybertruck and a hoped-for $25,000 electric car.

“I would not be surprised if Tesla has some significant manufacturing challenges, producing the new vehicle structures and new batteries in high volumes,” Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid, said.

Tesla has weathered the global supply chain crisis better than other automakers, producing a record number of vehicles and revenue is expected to rise 52% in the fourth quarter to $16.4 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Automotive gross margin excluding regulatory credits are expected to be flat or up slightly from the previous quarter, despite an inflationary environment which has a negative impact on component costs, said Gene Munster, managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures.


Analysts said Tesla’s two new factories in Texas and Berlin eventually could double Tesla’s production capacity, but it is not clear whether Tesla started production.

Musk said new factories will use manufacturing technology such as casting the body in only two or more pieces and integrating next-generation batteries into the vehicle body.

While the new technologies would help cut the number of vehicle parts, thus reducing manufacturing complexity and bringing down costs, they could be “significant production risk,” Musk said in 2020.

In addition, investors will want to hear about the outlook for the supply chain, with automakers straining to meet demand for electric vehicles.


Tesla expected the first vehicles equipped with its own 4680 battery which could give cars more range and bring down their costs, to be delivered early this year, but it is not clear when it would be able to mass produce the batteries.

Tesla’s major battery supplier Panasonic will begin producing its new batteries for Tesla from as early as 2023 in Japan, the Nikkei reported on Monday. LG Energy Solution also aimed for 2023 production of the 4680 cells, Reuters reported last year.


In 2019, Musk unveiled Tesla’s futuristic electric pickup trucks, aiming to gain a foothold in the popular and profitable segment in the U.S. market.

Musk, who has often missed his self-imposed launch targets, has already delayed Cybertruck production from late 2021 to late 2022. A source told Reuters that Tesla aims to start initial production of the much-anticipated model in early 2023, saying they are making changes to features and functionalities from its original version.

“This is the first time that Tesla has brought a vehicle out with serious competition,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions, referring to Ford and Rivian, which are planning to ramp up production.

As it is very hard to crack into the U.S. truck market – the home turf of American “Big Three” automakers, Tesla is likely to go after “weekend warriors or lifestyle buyers” rather than traditional commercial buyers, he said.


Musk in 2020 promised that in three years Tesla would offer a $25,000 electric car that can drive itself.

Tesla vice president Lars Moravy said in October that the company would not add new vehicles while battery cells were constrained, and that production of its existing models would take priority.

“Longer term investors care about Model 2,” Munster said with the current vehicle pricing, Tesla would not be able to grow volume by 50% every year.


(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, additional reporting by Akash Sriram in Bangalore; editing by Peter Henderson and Bernard Orr)

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Victoria’s Secret sells stake in China business for $45 million



Victoria’s Secret & Co said on Tuesday it will sell a 49% stake in its China business to Hong Kong-based lingerie maker Regina Miracle International Ltd for $45 million in cash, aiming to boost sales with the help of a local partner.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will form a joint venture, with Regina Miracle operating all Victoria’s Secret stores and related online business in China.

Victoria’s Secret, which became an independent, publicly traded company after separating from Bath & Body Works last year, said the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2022.


(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru)

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