The Covid-19 outbreaks in New Brunswick continue to grow, with six new cases announced by health officials on Monday.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said all six cases are related to the ongoing outbreaks in Zone 1 (Moncton region) and Zone 5 (Campbellton region).
Russell said three of the new cases are in Zone 1 while the other three are in Zone 5. Five people remain in the hospital as of Monday, including one person in an intensive care unit.
There are now 76 active cases of Covid-19, the highest number of active cases the province has seen thus far.
“This isn’t the Thanksgiving that we were all hoping for or that we wanted, but as I said, Covid-19 doesn’t take holidays,” said Russell.
Russell said everyone in New Brunswick needs to do their part to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep the case numbers down.
“Barely a week ago there were three active cases in this province and now we have outbreaks in two health zones which include potential incidents of community spread,” she said.
Anyone who travelled to an “orange” zone over the Thanksgiving weekend (Zone 1 or 5) need to observe the requirements of that recovery phase when they return home for 14 days.
That includes self-monitoring for symptoms, limiting your contacts to a two-household bubble, and maintaining a two-metre distance from others.
Russell also reminded residents in those zones that masks are also mandatory in all outdoor public places, in addition to indoor public places. That includes “anywhere other than the yard of a private single dwelling residence where the public gather, such as parks, playgrounds, markets, dog parks, etc.”
“When a phase orange is in place in a zone, we’re really trying to contain things very, very aggressively,” said Russell. “Having people mask indoors and outdoors, then that means that it’s continuous, everybody’s protecting each other. We do know that, even though people can be mingling outdoors, they don’t necessarily always physically distance.”
Residents in all other zones are only required to wear a mask in all indoor public places.
Russell also reminded anyone who regularly travels between here and Quebec that they can get tested twice a week, even if they don’t have any symptoms of the virus.
“I’ve heard many comments about asymptomatic testing versus asymptomatic testing and mass testing, etc. We’re really focused on the cases and the close contacts right now, and the people that are symptomatic,” she said.
Russell said we will likely see more confirmed cases in the coming days, but if everything goes well, those cases will be the people Public Health has already identified as close contacts and they are already self-isolating at home.
“The next 14 days will be critical in terms of how we see things unfolding here. That’s why the next 14 days are really, really important for people to be extremely vigilant,” she said.
Three Schools Will Be Closed Tuesday
Three schools in northern New Brunswick will remain closed Tuesday as officials deal with COVID-19 cases in the school community.
Education Minister Dominic Cardy said Académie Notre-Dame and L.E. Reinsborough School in Dalhousie will have an “operational response day”.
“Staff are going to use this day to roll out their response plans and students will learn from home. This is exactly what we’d always intended because as I’ve been making clear I hope from the beginning of this pandemic, it wasn’t a question of if or when we would have outbreaks like this, but how we would handle them.
Students at Sugarloaf Senior High School in Campbellton will learn remotely Tuesday and Wednesday, as previously announced, after a confirmed positive case last week.
Some people at Janeville Elementary School, near Bathurst, are being made aware of possible exposure, but Cardy said the school will remain open Tuesday.
Cardy said they are trying to balance keeping schools open as much as possible while also keeping people safe.
“This is a frightening moment when you talk about trying to keep schools open as much as possible. But that’s always been the goal because we can’t afford to lose more than 10 percent of a child’s education, losing a year or more of schooling, so our goal is to keep the schools open and to keep our schools safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, schools in New Brunswick’s “orange” zone of recovery will have new rules to follow designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Cardy says enhanced mask use will be required by students from kindergarten to Grade 12 when they return to class on Tuesday.
“Masks are going to be required on the bus, indoors and outdoors throughout the day, except when eating or engaged in physical activity. For students in K-to-8, they’ll be able to remove their masks if they’re working silently alone at their desks.”
There are no changes for students attending school in the “yellow” zone of recovery, including in the Saint John and Fredericton regions.
All intramural, interscholastic and extra-curricular activities are also suspended in the “orange” zones until they return to the “yellow” phase.
Cardy also used Monday’s media briefing to ask New Brunswickers to stop spreading misinformation both online and offline.
He said the province is doing its best to provide accurate, up-to-date information through briefings and the COVID-19 dashboard.
“I’d ask for folks who are online to think twice, think three times before you tweet, reshare, post something that you’re not sure about. Do not spread information about people you think might be sick. Do not spread information about stories you might have heard from a friend of a friend about a school or a long-term care home,” said Cardy.
“The way that we can get through this is by making sure the information we share is accurate so that we can make the best decisions based on that information.”
With files from Christina Mulherin and Brad Perry.
Top doctor to update Albertans on COVID-19 pandemic as active cases peak – CTV News
The chief medical officer of health will give a pandemic update Tuesday afternoon after active COVID-19 cases reached an all-time high in Alberta to start the week.
Alberta added 898 cases of the coronavirus over the weekend, a tally that increased the province’s confirmed infection count to 3,138 – a pandemic high.
The previous record was set on April 30 when Alberta had a reported 3,022 active cases.
The Edmonton zone still has the bulk of Alberta’s cases with 1,604, but the Calgary zone is experiencing a spike with 998 infections.
Alberta Health Services has reported more than 300 positive tests in a single day three times in October, including 356 cases on Sunday, though the province has never added more than 400 infections in one day during the pandemic.
Hospitals have 117 patients with COVID-19, including 18 people in intensive care.
The province has reported 22,673 cases and 292 deaths to date.
Watch Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s remarks at 3:30 p.m. live at CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.
Appointments Needed This Year for Flu Shot Clinics – VOCM
The public flu shot clinics begin tomorrow, but appointments are necessary this year because of the pandemic. No walk-ins will be permitted.
Appointments can be booked online using a new online tool: Health Myself.
People can also book an appointment by calling 709-273-3904 or toll-free 1-833-951-3904. Appointments have to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
Stringent public health measures will be in place at the clinics; everyone will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and all must wear a mask.
A grant will be available to employers with over 100 employees who wish to hire a qualified health care provider to offer a workplace vaccination clinic. Flu vaccine and appropriate PPE will be provided to those employers.
The regional health authorities are working with the schools to offer the flu vaccine to students in grades 4-12.
Nearly 158,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador got the shot last year.
💉 Getting the #FluShot has never been easier or more important. Book your 🆓 flu shot at https://t.co/ov80a9QclN. Now more than ever, getting vaccinated is critical. As more people are immunized, the risk for everyone is reduced. ❗️ Please Re-Tweet ❗️
— Dr. Janice Fitzgerald (@CMOH_NL) October 20, 2020
COVID-19 takes toll on physical health of young Canadians, scientists, school board find – CBC.ca
Just five per cent of Canadian children met basic physical activity guidelines early on in the pandemic, which is why school phys-ed programs are now looking for alternatives to get students to work up a sweat in a safe fashion.
As a result of physical distancing measures and increased remote learning, children have had more sedentary time during the pandemic, and that has had implications for schools planning physical education.
The Toronto District School Board, for instance, has asked gym teachers to cancel fall fitness training after phys-ed instructors reported that students’ physical activity levels have been alarming so far.
“They’ve noticed that kids are out of breath immediately, so the lack of physical activity that’s taken place over the last seven months is showing,” said George Kourtis, who heads the TDSB’s phys-ed program.
Even so, educators say it’s imperative that kids get a workout of some sort. But that comes with challenges in a remote learning environment.
WATCH | Schools adjust as kids lacked exercise during lockdown:
Jennifer Bell, a Grade 11 phys-ed teacher with TDSB’s virtual school, recently demonstrated lunges to a class by doing the movements toward her laptop screen. But the students had their cameras turned off, which makes the learning more difficult.
“How do we teach sports skills while you’re standing in your living room?” Bell said. “You don’t necessarily have another opponent or a partner to play a sport with. That’s where we’re trying to get creative.”
Physically distanced football
Getting creative includes activities like juggling to practise movement skills and having students regularly type in their 15-second heart rate measurements to show that their heart rate is increasing from the participation, Bell said.
Maryam Sabir, 14, is taking Grade 9 phys-ed in person in Toronto. Maryam said physical distancing rules put a new twist on learning to play football.
“You had to stay six feet apart,” both horizontally and vertically, Maryam said. “You can’t really communicate with other people. It becomes harder to play in the game.”
Maryam said she enjoys being physically active. When the phys-ed class ends next month, she plans to continue to get a workout by playing basketball or soccer with friends.
Importance of movement
- An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (such as walking quickly enough to still be able to talk but not sing).
- Nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night for those aged five to 13 and eight to 10 hours per night for those aged 14 to 17, with consistent bed and wake-up times.
- No more than two hours per day of recreational screen time.
Mark Tremblay, a senior scientist in obesity at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, was part of a team that surveyed more than 1,400 parents of children and youth online nationally in April, about a month after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in Canada.
Prior to the pandemic, about 15 per cent of kids met Canada’s 24-hour guidelines for physical activity, sedentary time and sleep, said Tremblay.
He found that movement levels had plunged as low as three per cent during the early days of the restrictions.
“Almost no Canadian kids were practising the healthy living behaviours that are associated with health, and that puts them at increased risk, of course, of physical and mental health issues going forward,” Tremblay said, which “is not what public health officials want.”
The study, published this summer in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, suggested that the pandemic wasn’t entirely to blame. But certain factors could increase the likelihood of healthy movement behaviours outside of school, including:
- Parental encouragement and support.
- Parents playing actively with their children.
- Dog ownership.
The lack of physical activity was also influenced by children’s living arrangements. Kids who spent more time active outdoors were more likely to live in a house as opposed to a 40-story apartment building downtown where families may not feel safe playing outside, Tremblay said.
Tremblay said the public health messaging about staying home is important, “but it doesn’t mean stay inside.”
The scientists plan to repeat their survey on kids’ physical activity levels in early November.
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