COVID-19: Edmundston region enters red pandemic-alert level; N.B. reports 26 new cases
Published Monday, January 18, 2021 5:56AM AST Last Updated Tuesday, January 19, 2021 4:53PM AST
FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick reported 26 new COVID-19 infections Monday as the Edmundston region entered the province's highest pandemic-alert level.
Health officials said New Brunswick had more than 300 active reported infections. The largest number of new cases on Monday were identified in the Edmundston region, located in the northwest of the province, bordering Quebec.
The move into the "red" alert came after the province reported 36 infections Sunday -- the highest single-day number since the start of the pandemic.
Red-level rules require businesses to close or to reduce operations to essential activities. Residents are asked to stay home in single-family bubbles as much as possible, though schools remain open. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people or fewer, while in-person dining at restaurants is prohibited.
Many of the cases identified in the Edmundston zone are at the Nadeau Poultry plant in the community of Haut-Madawaska, west of Edmundston and near the border with Maine and Quebec.
"There is a problem at the Nadeau plant," Haut-Madawaska Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said in an interview Monday. "There are about 20 workers that have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19."
"The plant is closed until Friday in order for the management to clean the facility," he said.
Representatives of the company could not be reached for comment, but Public Health officials confirmed the outbreak and said a second round of mass testing will occur at the facility on Tuesday.
"We have kept the avalanche of cases out of New Brunswick so far," Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement Monday afternoon.
"We must act now to keep this virus from doing even more damage than we are already seeing, especially with transmission now in workplaces. We cannot keep COVID-19 out completely, so we must do absolutely everything we can to prevent it from spreading within our province," she said.
On Sunday, Russell said Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton are close to moving into red alert.
NEW CASES AT SCHOOLS AND DAYCARE
Public Health also reported several new cases in schools Monday. Officials reported a case at Ecole Elementaire Sacre-Coeur in Grand Falls and another at a daycare located in the school. There is also a positive case at Quispamsis Middle School in Quispamsis.
Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said if New Brunswick is to control the rise in new cases it needs to redouble efforts to reduce travel from outside the Atlantic region.
"If the province keeps doing what it's doing, you'll have more cases -- plenty more -- but not at the level that will get out of control," Furness said in an email Monday. "New Brunswickers should feel confident and optimistic, and of course, vigilant -- drop your guard and you can get swamped between now and the summer."
BREAKDOWN OF NEW CASES
The new cases increase the total of confirmed cases in New Brunswick to 973. Of those, 656 have recovered and there have been 12 deaths. The number of active cases is 304 and one person is in hospital.
Here is the breakdown of where the new cases are:
- seven cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region)
- nine cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region)
- seven cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
- two cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region)
- one case in Zone 6 (Bathurst region)
All cases are self-isolating and under investigation.
As of Monday, public health staff have conducted 174,195 tests.
The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick's seven health zones:
- Zone 1 – Moncton region: 239 total confirmed cases (69 active cases)
- Zone 2 – Saint John region: 200 total (62 active cases)
- Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 215 total (59 active cases)
- Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 115 total (76 active cases)
- Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 176 total (30 active cases)
- Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 22 total (8 active cases)
- Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 6 total (0 active cases)
Public Health has identified potential public exposure to the virus at the following locations:
- Moncton North After Hours Medical Clinic (1633 Mountain Rd., Moncton – Zone 1)
Jan. 14 between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
- Parts for Trucks (21 Powers Rd., Grand Falls – Zone 4)
Jan. 11, 12 and 14 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Jean Coutu Kim Levesque-Côté Pharmacy (276 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls – Zone 4)
- Jan. 7 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021.
With files from CTV Atlantic.