N.B. reports 19 of 32 new COVID-19 cases in Edmundston region, including six connected to poultry plant
HALIFAX -- New Brunswick Public Health reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with 19 of them in the Edmundston region.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, says the situation in the Edmundston region "remains gravely concerning" as there are now 113 cases in that area – the most by far of any health zone in the province – and there are outbreaks in workplaces and adult residential facilities.
"This pandemic has taught us that our circumstances can change with frightening speed,” said Russell. "We must be prepared to head this off before our situation becomes critical."
Russell said during a news conference in Fredericton that six of the new cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) are linked to the Nadeau poultry plant and 24 of the region's active cases are linked to this facility.
Russell says the measures government put in place last week need more time to work, but there are hopeful signs as case numbers in Zones 1, 2, 3 "appear to be stabilizing."
"We are not out of the woods by a long stretch," Russell says. "We are prepared to give these restrictions time to work, but time is not on our side."
Here is a breakdown of the new cases reported Thursday:
- five new cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region)
- three new cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region)
- three new cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
- 19 new cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region)
- two new cases in Zone 5 (Campbellton region)
The cause of the new cases are under investigation. There are now 324 active cases in the province. Three people are in hospital, with two of those in intensive care.
"We are at a turning point and the direction we head is dependent on people following the rules laid out by Public Health," said Premier Blaine Higgs. "We are seeing signs of improvement in three of the four zones currently in the Red level. I am hopeful all regions will see improvements in the coming days and weeks."
CONFIRMED CASES IN SCHOOLS
Public Health identified a confirmed case at Riverview High School, which was first reported on Wednesday. The school will be closed for three days for contact tracing and testing of school staff.
Students from at École Élémentaire Sacré-Cœur, in Grand Falls, and École Régionale Saint-Basile, in Edmundston, will continue to learn from home this week while testing is done on school staff. They will return to school on Monday.
"If you or a family member have been in close contact with a case, you will be notified by Public Health for contact tracing," the province said in a news release. "If you do not hear directly from Public Health, you have not been identified as a close contact."
OUTBREAK AT ADULT RESIDENTIAL FACILITY
Public Health has declared an outbreak at Le Pavillon Le Royer, a special care home in Edmundston, after confirming a positive case there on Wednesday.
"Members of the Provincial Rapid Outbreak Management Team are on site providing support for residents and for the facility’s care and management team," the province said.
Public Health has identified potential public exposure to the virus at the following location in Zone 4:
- Sparta Progression Gym (113, 44 Avenue D, Edmundston)
- Jan. 13 and Jan. 15 between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
RED AND ORANGE LEVEL RULES
The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick's seven health zones:
- Zone 1 – Moncton region: 254 total confirmed cases (74 active cases)
- Zone 2 – Saint John region: 208 total (55 active cases)
- Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 220 total (47 active cases)
- Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 166 total (113 active cases)
- Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 180 total (26 active cases)
- Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 23 total (9 active cases)
- Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 6 total (0 active cases)