COVID-19 round-up for Thursday, May 28 – the one step forward and two steps back edition

New Brunswick – There are three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province today. All three cases are part of the cluster in Zone 5, the Campbellton region, and Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, confirmed two are healthcare workers.

This brings the total number of cases in the province to 126, and six are active.

The three new cases are:

  • an individual under 19 in Zone 5 (Campbellton region);
  • an individual between 40 and 49 in Zone 5; and
  • an individual over 90 in Zone 5

Vitalite CEO, Giles Lanteigne confirmed the original case, a healthcare worker who did not self-isolate for 14 days on returning to New Brunswick from Quebec, came in contact with approximately 150 people – 50 healthcare workers and 100 community members.

Russell said the outbreak “was preventable”, and that it is mandatory under the emergency measures act for anyone returning to New Brunswick from outside the province to self-isolate – even from close family and friends – for 14 days.

Russell said there is extensive contact tracing being done, but that any individual who has been in Zone 5, or in contact with a known or suspected case should be vigilant for symptoms, and have a low threshold for calling 811.

“It is urgent that residents of Zone 5 seek testing for COVID-19,” said Russell. “If people hide or ignore symptoms to avoid being stigmatized or ostracized, then the situation can worsen.

“We don’t know the extent of it yet,” she added.

If you or a member of your family are showing two of the following symptoms, contact Tele-Care 811 or your primary health-care provider for further direction:

  • fever above 38°C or signs of fever (such as chills);
  • 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 or loss of sense of smell; and
  • in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19, including the latest data on confirmed cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick is available online.

A self-assessment will help you determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.

Higgs said the fate of this individual was an HR issue, and will be handled by the individuals employer.

“It appears in this case, the person that was involved chose to see patients after returning, without following the rules of public health,” said Higgs.

“Informations have been passed along to the RCMP to determine exactly what took place, and whether charged are warranted.  I know many people have questions about professional ramifications, but this must be left in the hands of the professionals.”

Higgs added he was “confident the right steps would be taken.”

On Wednesday, May 27, Zone 5 was transitioned from Yellow back to the Orange stage of recovery.

The following rules apply to Zone 5 only:

  • A two-household bubble is permitted. Your household can join up with one other household, if both households mutually agree. You must not have close contact with anyone else. You cannot join up with more than one household or bubble.
  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses such as acupuncturists and naturopaths cannot operate at this time.
  • Personal services businesses such as barbers, hair stylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists, and tattoo artists cannot operate at this time.

Officials from WorkSafeNB and the Department of Public Safety are in the area to ensure compliance, and monitor the situation. Those with concerns can contact a toll-free information line by calling 1-844-462-8387 or by emailing helpaide@gnb.ca

The remainder of the province remains in the Yellow stage of recovery, but because of  the outbreak, activities previously scheduled to be permitted beginning tomorrow, Friday,  May 29 will be delayed by one week to Friday, June 5. Delay will allow for the time required to determine the extent of the current outbreak. The activities being delayed are:

  • Outdoor public gatherings of 50 people or fewer.
  • Indoor religious services, including weddings and funerals, of 50 people or fewer.
  • Low-contact team sports.

Openings being delayed include:

  • swimming pools, saunas and waterparks
  • gyms, yoga and dance studios
  • rinks and indoor recreational facilities
  • pool halls and bowling alleys

 He also said in light of the ongoing battle with the virus, the all party committee agreed the legislature would be adjourned until Tuesday, June 9, and the state of emergency would be extended an additional 14 days.  The latest version of the declaration is available online.

Higgs said these changes will not impact temporary foreign workers (TFW) entering the province, but it is imperative TFW’s self-isolate for 14 days on entering the province.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not hold a briefing today.

Details on federal benefit and funding opportunities, application portals, and up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Canada are available at www.canada.ca