N.B. declares outbreak at seniors' home in Balmoral, modifies border rules for workers
HALIFAX -- New Brunswick has declared an outbreak at a seniors' residence in Balmoral, N.B., and is modifying the border rules for workers.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, says there has been a positive test at Residence 4 Saisons.
"There is one confirmed case in the facility, and so therefore we're declaring an outbreak and we're taking very aggressive steps at this moment to limit the impact of this outbreak," Russell said. "So, the entire facility is being tested with respect to residents and staff. And I think most of them were being tested today with a rapid test."
In an attempt to limit outbreaks like this from happening, dr. Russell is encouraging anyone working in a long term care home, nursing homes or adult care facilities to be tested every second week.
The case at the seniors' home is one of four new cases in the province. There is one new case in the Moncton area and the others are all in or around Campbellton.
The the number of active cases has dropped to 41 and there are four people in hospital.
Russell also cautioned New Brunswickers of the "elevated risk" represented by the rising number of positive cases reported in Canada. She said it is now averaging approximately 2,700 a day, compared to 300 a day in July.
"There is a rising tide of COVID-19 all around us," said Russell.
The province is also modifying the rules for workers who come back to New Brunswick.
"These measures are necessary because almost 95 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in our province are the result of travel or someone who has been in close contact with another traveller who was positive," said Premier Blaine Higgs.
As such, the province will now require workers returning to New Brunswick to self-isolate for 14 days. They will have the option of returning to normal guidelines if they get voluntarily tested and are showing no symptoms.
"New Brunswickers who travel outside of the province to work will be directed to enter a modified self-isolation upon return for up to 14 days, depending on their length of stay back in New Brunswick," Russell said.
Green Party leader David Coon says government should be as open as they can be about the source of any COVID-19 outbreak as long as the person or people involved can't be identified.
"People have the ability to have the information necessary to determine whether or not government measures that are designed to protect public safety are adequate and appropriate," Coon said.
As they did in Campbellton and Dalhousie last weekend, public health is holding a mass testing clinic in Belledune on Friday.
"This will give people the opportunity to get tested and then they know 'I'm negative,' or whatever the case is," said Belledune mayor Joe Noel
To further clamp down on the spread of the virus, residents of Listuguj First Nation and of Pointe-a-la-Croix, Que., are now only allowed to enter province for essential goods and services twice a week between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Anyone who has pre-registered is permitted to enter without self-isolation to attend school, to access child care, or to obtain essential goods and services.