This update provides information on expanded booster/third vaccine availability in New Brunswick and recent GNB changes related to testing, recording of positive COVID cases, isolating and contact tracing.
Preparing for winter
COVID-19 cases are spiking in New Brunswick and across the country. It is also cold and flu season. It is important to monitor your health, even if you’re fully vaccinated. Practice the following:
- If you feel sick, stay home.
- Wear a mask. See the latest mask guidance here.
- Keep your contacts to your Steady 10.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Frequent handwashing/sanitizing.
‘Booster/Third Vaccination’ availability in New Brunswick
GNB announced that all individuals aged 18 and over (with five months since second dose), are able to book their booster in New Brunswick starting Monday, January 10.
Changes to GNB testing, reporting, isolating and contact tracing
The overall focus is now on ‘Living with COVID-19′ and minimizing the health effects of those infected and the impact on the healthcare system. The Omicron variant is more infectious, however it also appears to have less severe symptoms. These new protocol changes put more accountability on individuals to self-monitor, care, and report (if positive) moving forward.
- Most of the testing moving forward will be done through the provincial health system. GNB will no longer be distributing rapid test kits to the general public.
- If you have one or more symptoms, isolate and register for a COVID-19 test. All testing is now reserved for symptomatic individuals or people who live or work in specific settings. (If you currently have a supply of rapid tests from a previous acquisition, you should use them only if you are symptomatic.)
- The online registration process will confirm what type of test you will receive:
- Rapid tests will be the most used form of testing in the province and are now only to be used for those who are symptomatic and those under 50 years of age unless other health factors are evident.
- PCR tests will be reserved for the most high-risk populations, especially older age groups.
Reporting a positive COVID-19 test to GNB
- If you have a positive test — whether a rapid test or a PCR test — you are asked to self-register this result:
- Register the positive test result on the GNB website — this data will be used by GNB/Public Health.
Individuals who have a positive rapid or a positive PCR test must isolate as directed by GNB:
- Five days if you are fully vaccinated. Once you have completed your five-day isolation, you must mask continuously, avoid vulnerable settings and gatherings for the next five days.
- 10 days if you are not fully vaccinated or immunocompromised
You do not need any further testing during your isolation.
All household members must also isolate for the same time period. Close contacts outside of the household must self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.
Close contacts should self-monitor for symptoms (GNB’s online assessment form is helpful in this regard) and book a test if necessary.
- Public Health contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases unless they are in a high-risk setting.
- Individuals who test positive will now be responsible for notifying their own close contacts.
- Public exposure sites will no longer be reported by GNB.
- Keep a list of who you’ve met with and where you have been on your phone or in a journal or calendar.
Please do your part to keep our community safe. Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, limit contacts as much as possible, and wash your hands/sanitize high touch surfaces. Stay safe!