New Brunswick sees three new cases of COVID-19, Higgs warns Zone 5 of possible move to Red phase of recovery

New Brunswick – A stern Premier Blaine Higgs today, Thursday, Oct. 22, warned those who reside in Zone 5 –the Campbellton region – that should they not take Public Health advice and restrictions seriously to slow the spread of COVID-19, the region is “on the verge” of being put into the Red phase of recovery, which Higgs warned would “significantly impact the economy”.

Higgs also reminded Zone 5 residents following Public Health protocols is “a small price to pay to try and bring this zone back under control”.

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, announced three new cases of COVID-19 today, all in Zone 5.  The cases are:

  • one individual 40 to 49; and
  • two people 50 to 59.

All of these cases are self-isolating and under investigation.

Because the outbreak in Zone 5 continues, effective at midnight tonight, all residents of Zone 5 are asked to limit their bubble to one other household, down from the two households it has been. The single household bubble may include formal or informal caregivers and members of their immediate family (parents, children, siblings and grand-parents).

“I want to stress not just the seriousness and the severity of the situation in Zone 5,” said Russell, “but I want to impress upon you the urgency of the situation.”

Russell said she found the current outbreak in Zone 5 and the well being of its residents “deeply concerning”.

Zone 5 (Campbellton region) will remain in the Orange level of recovery, with the addition of the limited bubble.

Russell also said the infection rate of COVID-19 based on population is higher in Zone 5 than anywhere else in Atlantic Canada, and its infection rate exceeds the national average of 61 cases per 100,000 population.  The average for New Brunswick is 14 cases per 100,000 population while it is 245 cases per 100,000 population in Zone 5 – and those cases are effectively within a 12 km radius.

In a 16 day period, 14,036 tests were conducted throughout New Brunswick, with less than 1 per cent of those cases being positive.

Conversely, during the same 16 day period, 1,500 tests were done in Zone 5 and 4.24 per cent of those cases were positive. 

Higgs said peace officers who function under the umbrella of the Department of Justice and Public Safety are in the region to ensure compliance with the regulations under the Orange phase of recovery.  He said while the goal is education, businesses should expect fines as a possible outcome if they are unable to provide an operation plan as requiredor are not following protocols under the mandate.

Zone 1 – the Moncton region –will return to Yellow level

Zone 1 returns to the Yellow phase of recovery as of midnight tonight, Thursday, Oct. 22

Russell said as the outbreak in Zone 1 is now well under control, Public Health recommends the return to the Yellow phase.

Recovery level rules are available online. In the Yellow phase, Public Health measures and guidelines must still be followed. This includes wearing a mask in most indoor public places.

COVID-19 testing in Zone 5

Testing is available this weekend for individuals who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 but want to be tested.

Testing will be held over two days:

  • Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Memorial Regional Civic Centre in Campbellton; and
  • Sunday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Inch Arran Arena in Dalhousie.

No appointment is necessary. Screening tests will be done on a first-come, first-served basis.

People with symptoms are asked to request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 322 and 237 have recovered. There have been four deaths, and the number of active cases is 81. Five patients are hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit. As of today, 95,036 tests have been conducted.

Possible school exposure

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the school community of Dalhousie Regional High School (DRHS) was notified of a second confirmed positive COVID-19 case at the school. This case has no connection with one previously identified, and no student-to-student transmission has been recorded. DRHS students in Grades 6 through 12 engaged in remote learning until Friday, Oct. 23, with the possibility of extending beyond that date. Families will continue to receive updates from the school as information becomes available.