COVID-19 arrives in Maritimes as N.B. reports first presumptive case
FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick health officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon that they are dealing with Atlantic Canada's first presumptive case of COVID-19.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health for New Brunswick, says the patient is between 50 and 60 years old and lives in southeast New Brunswick.
"The patient travelled internationally from France and was confirmed that the patient has been treated and tested and is in isolation at home," Russell said.
The woman was informed of her diagnosis Wednesday. Russell says she's doing OK and her symptoms are mild.
Russell says the woman did everything right and proved that the system they have in place works.
"She phoned ahead so they knew to receive her with the proper precautions in place," Russell said. "So she wasn't sitting in an emergency room department or anything like that, or a waiting room, she was taken right in for assessment and put in an isolation room."
Now, the work begins for public health to begin tracking everyone that came in contact with her -- from family and friends to people who were around her while travelling.
"I don't think we could ever be too careful," said Premier Blaine Higgs.
The premier is supposed to head to Ottawa later this week to attend the first minister's meeting, but he says he's asked if he can attend via videoconference to avoid travel.
"We've put out just recently a travel ban for (Government of New Brunswick) employees," Higgs said. "I think it's important, given the knowledge today, that I respect that ban as well, and that I'm here in the province."
Earlier Wednesday, Russell confirmed that New Brunswick now has the ability to test for "probable" or presumptive cases of COVID-19.
She says this gives them a "leg up" to begin containment right away while they wait for final results from the national lab in Winnipeg.
"This is not unexpected," Russell said. "We expected to have a travel-related case in New Brunswick, or more."
Russell has also advised anyone who has been travelling internationally over the last 14 days to not enter a nursing home or hospital for the next two weeks.
Officials hope these restrictions will help contain the spread of the coronavirus now that's it's made its first appearance in the Maritimes.
Editor's note: The original version of this story reported three presumptive cases in New Brunswick. That was incorrect. CTV News regrets the error.