COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions What is Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)? Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) virus not previously identified in people. COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan in China in December 2019. Click here to view our video to learn more. What is the current situation in New Brunswick? Up-to-date and accurate information can be found on the Government of New Brunswick’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website. How many cases have been diagnosed in New Brunswick? In Canada? For up-to-date numbers of confirmed cases visit the Government of New Brunswick, the provincial dashboard’s site, and the Public Health Agency of Canada (Canada). How is COVID-19 spread? COVID-19 is spread: Through droplets, when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you; Through close contact with an infected person, such as touching or shaking hands; and By touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before cleaning your hands. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Fever above 38 degrees Celsius A new cough, or worsening chronic cough Sore throat Runny nose Headache A new onset of fatigue A new onset of muscle pain Diarrhea Loss of sense of taste Loss of sense of smell In children, purple markings on the fingers and toes Difficulty breathing Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Most cases have reported mild symptoms. However, there is a risk of severe illness that may result in respiratory failure, kidney failure, or even death. What is the process to get a COVID-19 test if I do have symptoms? You can register for a test online by clicking ‘Get Tested‘ on the GNB Coronavirus website or you can call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment. Can I still visit patients in a Horizon facility? Visitor guidelines are in place at Horizon facilities. Please click here to learn more. Can I wear my community face mask or cloth facial covering into a room to visit a patient who is under Isolation Precautions? No. You will be provided a medical grade face mask or KN95 during the screening process and asked to put on this face mask before entering. If you are wearing a KN95 face mask or N95 respirator, you will not be asked to change it. Patients under isolation precautions require individuals entering the patient room to wear a medical grade face mask and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Before you visit a patient under isolation precautions, you must STOP and request assistance from a health care worker on the patient care unit before entering the patient’s room. The health care worker will assist and provide you with the appropriate type of PPE required to keep you and the patient safe. This will include instruction of how to put on and take off PPE. How is COVID-19 diagnosed? There is a nasopharyngeal swab and a throat swab that are done to diagnose COVID-19. In New Brunswick, screening testing is done by the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton and confirmatory testing is done by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Should I go to an Emergency Department if I think I have COVID-19? If you are displaying mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19, complete the self-assessment by visiting gnb.ca/coronavirus or call Tele-Care 811 and follow their instructions. Do NOT go to the Emergency Department. Patients should only go to an Emergency Department (ED) if it’s an emergency. How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19? The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to clean your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection; If access to a sink is unavailable, an alcohol-based hand rub will clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled; Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands; Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or use the crease of your elbow when you cough or sneeze; Regularly clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces; and Do not share food, drinks or utensils. Should I wear a mask? Based on the latest research, masks are now an effective way to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Non-medical masks or facial coverings can protect those around you when physical distancing is not possible because: It covers your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces. It reduces the chance that others come into contact with your respiratory droplets (similar to how covering your cough with tissues or your sleeve can reduce that chance). If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, how will I be treated? There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Many symptoms can be managed with home treatment such as drinking plenty of fluids, rest, using a humidifier or having a hot shower to relieve a cough. Most people recover from COVID-19 on their own. For people with more serious illness, hospitalization may be required. Why does Horizon continue to accept cash at its parking stations and cafeterias? Horizon has acted on the advice of its Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) experts on this matter. Our parking lot attendants and cafeteria staff are equipped with hand sanitizer (alcohol-based hand rub) and clean their hands between every transaction. How do I get a copy of my personal health records when visitor restrictions are in place? Please note that although the Health Records department is now open to those who pass the Patient and Visitor Screening associated with COVID-19, we encourage you to continue to use the email option to reach us. You will find this method more convenient. You can submit a Patient Access Release Form electronically. Download it by clicking here and email or fax the authorization form back to the area where the inquired information from the medical appointment occurred. If you experience issues accessing the form on our website, please call or email the appropriate area, and a form will be sent to you. Our Health Information Management team will mail copies of the records to patients requesting information, which will save people from making a trip to the hospital. Please note, health records will not be sent by email. What if I need to contact my health care provider for a medical note to apply for Employment Insurance (EI)? People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine do not need to provide a medical certificate. For more information, visit Employment and Social Development Canada. Where can I find reliable information? There is misinformation and speculation surfacing online, which is a common reaction in situations like this. Please rely on only credible sources for information from Public Health Agency of Canada Government of New Brunswick Horizon Health Network Misinformation can create unnecessary panic for both our patients and staff, which ties up our resources. Please help us share reliable information from these sites. For updates on health care services in your area, sign up for our e-newsletter, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. COVID-19 vaccinations The more people who are immunized against COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread. Learn more about getting vaccinated with the Frequently Asked Questions below, and do your part by getting fully vaccinated. How does the COVID-19 vaccine work to protect us? COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA vaccines provide instructions to your cells for how to make a coronavirus protein. Viral vector vaccines use a virus that’s been made harmless to produce coronavirus proteins in your body without causing disease. Both will trigger an immune response that will help to protect you against COVID-19. It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination (second dose) for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. That means it is possible a person could still get COVID-19 before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to build protection. So it is important to continue to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 even once immunized. For more information about vaccination to achieve community immunity, visit Health Canada. Can you still contract and spread the virus once immunized? Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of infectious diseases. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting COVID-19, especially severe illness and death. COVID-19 vaccines also reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the CDC, infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild. People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated and may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19 disease. You should talk to your health care provider. Does the COVID-19 vaccine work to protect against the Omicron variant? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, information is still being gathered on how well vaccines work against transmission and severe disease that may result from Omicron compared to the other variants. However, we do know that the COVID-19 vaccine does reduce the impact of the virus if contracted, protecting you from severe illness requiring hospitalization. How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine? Vaccines are safe. Health Canada authorizes vaccines only after an independent and thorough scientific review for safety, effectiveness and quality. The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19 because they don’t contain the virus that causes it, and they cannot change your DNA. For more information, including a list of authorized vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, visit Health Canada online. Additional Health Canada resources: Vaccine safety, concerns and possible side effects Vaccines for children: Deciding to vaccinate Vaccination for adults Guidance for patients on persons with Autoimmune conditions and/or Immunosuppression What is a COVID-19 “booster” and why is it needed? Similar to other vaccines, the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine against COVID-19 decreases with time, therefore, an additional “booster” dose may be needed. Note: For immunocompromised individuals in New Brunswick, a primary series is now considered 3 doses to ensure a more durable protection against COVID-19. To learn more about 3rd doses and “boosters” please visit COVID-19 Vaccines (on the GNB website) Who is eligible? New Brunswickers over the age of 5 are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For more information on who is eligible and when, click here. Information for parents, caregivers or legal guardians: it is preferred that parents/legal guardians consent to immunizations for minors younger than 16. For more information on consent for COVID-19 vaccination can be found here. How old do I need to be to consent to COVID-19 vaccination without parental consent? Under New Brunswick’s Medical Consent for Minors Act, a minor under the age of 16 is capable of giving consent to be immunized if an attending legally qualified medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or nurse determines that the minor: understands the nature and the consequences of a medical treatment; and the medical treatment and the procedure to be used is in the best interests of the minor and the minor’s continuing health and well-being. For more information, read Mature Minor Consent for COVID-19 Immunization or visit the Government of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 Vaccines website. Do children aged five to 11 receive the same dose of COVID-19 vaccination as adults? The pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine (which is given to children aged five to 11 in New Brunswick) is approximately one-third of the amount given to adults and teens, and the two doses are spaced eight weeks apart. The lower dose in children aged five to 11 has been thoroughly tested and is not only safe, but just as effective at fighting off COVID-19 as the regular-dose of the vaccine in teenagers and adults. How do I find a COVID-19 vaccination clinic near me? Vaccination appointments can be scheduled online by clicking here. How do I cancel or reschedule my vaccination appointment? If you have the Booking ID (found in the appointment confirmation email) and the date of birth of the person scheduled to receive the vaccine, you can cancel AND reschedule the appointment by clicking here. If you don’t have the Booking IDor date of birth, you can cancel the appointment by filling out the following form OR by calling 1-833-437-1424 to reach someone who will assist you in cancelling or rescheduling your appointment. The earlier you can provide notification, the better. By cancelling your appointment as soon as possible, you may be helping someone else in your community get vaccinated sooner against COVID-19. What is the Record of COVID-19 Immunization? The paper Record of COVID-19 Immunization provided from vaccination clinics is and will continue to be your official record. If you have lost your Record of COVID-19 Immunization and you require a replacement copy, provided you have an NB Medicare number, you may now view and print your Record of COVID-19 Immunization online through MyHealthNB. How long do I wait between my first and second dose? New Brunswick now recommends that individuals get their second dose of vaccine eight weeks after receiving their first dose to ensure optimal protection however individuals are still able to receive their 2nd dose at 28 days. When am I eligible for a booster (third) dose? All individuals 18 and older can book an appointment for a booster dose if at least 5 months has passed since their second dose. When am I eligible for a fourth dose? We follow guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), and (as of Feb. 4, 2022), we haven’t received guidance for the wide distribution of fourth doses. Immunocompromised clients are eligible for a fourth dose, providing five months have passed since their third dose. In this population, the primary series is three doses; as opposed to two for the general population. A self-attestation form is available online which also outlines definition/criteria of immunocompromised. Information is available here, including access to the form and eligibility requirements. Can I still get vaccinated if I answer “yes” to one or more of the screening questions? (For example: “yes, I was in contact with a positive case.”) In some cases, additional precautions can be taken to ensure you receive your vaccine (including: going to a separate zone within the clinic and health care workers donning extra personal protective equipment). To see a list of Horizon’s screening questions, please click on “COVID-19 Active Screening: Patient / Visitor Access to Facilities” on our Visitor Restrictions page. If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, contact 811 for instructions. How soon can I be vaccinated after having COVID-19? Based on immunity following infection, the current interval between COVID-19 infection and vaccination is outlined in the chart below. A primary vaccination series is as follows: Two full doses of a combination of either of the following COVID-19 vaccines: AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech One full dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) For individuals 5+who are immunocompromised, a primary series is now considered three doses. In the chart, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is referred to as MIS-C. Infection before the start or completion of a primary vaccination series Population Suggested internal between infection and vaccination 5+ not immunocompromised and no history of MIS-C 8 weeks after onset of symptoms or positive test result (if asymptomatic) 5+ immunocompromised and no history of MIS-C 4 to 8 weeks after onset of symptoms or positive test result (if asymptomatic) 5+ with a history of MIS-C (regardless of immunocompromised or not) When clinically recovered from COVID-19, or 90 days since onset of MIS-C (whichever is longer) Infection after primary vaccination series but before booster dose 12+ 5 months after onset of symptoms or positive test result (if asymptomatic) and must be at least 5 months following primary vaccination series The intervals above serve as a guide and clinical discretion is advised. A longer interval between infection and vaccination may result in a better immune response. Individuals may choose to get vaccinated sooner than the recommended intervals, but at minimum, COVID-19 symptoms should be completely resolved; and at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms or positive test result (if asymptomatic) should have passed to minimize the risk of transmission at a vaccination clinic.