Tantramar Report: Harvest Supper returns, Mount A classes begin, Sackville man pleads guilty to assault, and another COVID-19 death

People are served buffet-style under a tent.
A scene from the first annual Harvest Supper in 2019. Photo from the Sackville Farmers Market.
Meg Cunningham - CHMA - SackvilleNB | 08-09-2021

On today's Tantramar Report:

Farmers and farmers market staff are ready to slice and serve up local produce for the second annual Harvest Supper this month. The Supper, which started in 2019 and had to miss a year due to COVID-19, will sit 100 people family-style smack in the middle of downtown Sackville and showcase local food and drink. Market Manager Michael Freeman is excited to flip steaks, pour drinks, and show off the diverse array of delicious produce the Tantramar has to offer.

A Sackville man who has been in custody at the Shediac jail since July 6 was released Tuesday, after pleading guilty and being sentenced to time served for various assault charges. Colt LeBlanc pled guilty to two counts of assaulting a police officer for events that took place in January near his home on Upper Aboujagane Road. As police approached LeBlanc’s home on Jan. 9, he and two others shone high powered lasers and flashlights at the officers, and yelled obscenities.  LeBlanc threw a shovel at the officers before running into his house and locking the door. LeBlanc originally pled not guilty to another assault charge laid in July, and was scheduled for trial in November. But on Tuesday he reversed that, pleading guilty to assault and uttering threats. He also pled guilty to two counts stemming from the January incident, while two other counts were dropped.  He was sentenced to a cumulative 96 days incarceration. With the time he has served since being arrested on July 6, he had completed his sentence yesterday and was released from the Shediac jail on conditions. LeBlanc is not permitted to possess a firearm for five years, and will be under probation for 18 months.

Year-round Sackville residents will notice an uptick in pedestrian traffic around York, Bridge, and Main Street this week. It’s the first day of classes for Mount Allison students today, and, this year, students will actually attend class on campus rather than from their dorm rooms. The province no longer requires students from out-of-province to self-isolate, but Mount Allison has implemented more strict health and safety policies on campus. All students and staff must wear masks while indoors, unless they are eating in Jennings or studying alone in the library, including while they are in the classroom. They don’t, however, have to wear a mask in their dorms unless they are attending a larger event taking place in the residence building. This is regardless of vaccine status, although the university still needs to know which students have either chosen not to be or cannot be vaccinated. Students at Mount Allison University are required to disclose their COVID-19 vaccine status both online through the Connect portal, and in person at a drop-in verification site by Oct. 1.

A New Brunswicker in Zone 1 (Moncton region) has passed away as a result of COVID-19. The patient was in their 70s, but no additional information was provided in regards to either any pre-existing conditions or their vaccination status. Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, cited privacy concerns as the reason for withholding this information. She says that, “the aim of Public Health is to provide information that helps other people protect themselves without allowing individual cases to be identified." Since July 1, when the province entered the Green phase, 76 per cent of the new cases have been in people who are completely unvaccinated. The other 24 per cent of cases are split down the middle between the partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated. Four more patients are still in the hospital due to COVID-19, and three of them are in intensive care units.

The province announced that 54 new cases have been discovered in New Brunswick over the long weekend, but there were coincidentally the exact same amount of recoveries. Since Sept. 3, 13 new cases have popped up in Zone 1 (Moncton region), which brings the active case count to 43. Over half of the new cases are in people in their twenties. Two cases have been labelled simply as “community transmission,” meaning Public Health couldn’t trace the source of the infection to a known case or outbreak. Six of the cases, meanwhile, are also unaccounted for and labelled as “under investigation,” which brings the tally of unknown cases to 171. Zone 2 (St. John region) is the only health region that was unscathed in terms of new cases this weekend. All the other zones had at least four new cases.

Sackville Mayor Shawn Mesheau provided an update on the Sackville Memorial Hospital. In his message, Mesheau reports that in addition to lobbying efforts from the region’s mayors and Mount Allison University,  the community-led Rural Action Health Group continues to work on identifying solutions to staff shortages. They are focusing on recruitment, says Mesheau, and have been working with the HR Team at Horizon Health in developing a recruitment plan specific to the needs of the Sackville Memorial Hospital. Mesheau also says he’s been in contact with Ambulance NB, who say they are responding to ER closures by increasing staff in the area during closures. You can hear the full message from Mayor Shawn Mesheau right after today’s Tantramar Report.

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