HALIFAX -- New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19.

On Sunday, the province gave an update and announced the three new cases all have been identified at the Manoir de la Vallée residential facility.

All of the latest cases range in age from 80 to 89.

The latest cases bring the provincial total of COVID-19 cases to 132. There are 12 active cases remaining in the province, all located in Zone 5.

"There is a possibility that the virus could spread beyond that region, because we know the incubation period is 14 days," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell. “We have a two week period ahead of us where we are going to be watching very carefully what is happening in that region and also around the province. We know that people have left that region since the time that there has been a transmission of COVID-19.”

Three people are currently in hospital, with one of those cases in an intensive care unit.

As of Sunday, 120 cases have recovered, and there are zero deaths in the province.

To date, 26,172 tests have been conducted in New Brunswick. This includes over 1,300 tests processed on Saturday, which is the highest single-day amount since the pandemic began.

New revelation

Russell said the active cases are linked to a travel-related case, based on information from a Public Health investigation. The travel-related case involves a doctor who contracted the virus in Quebec but failed to self-isolate when he returned to New Brunswick. The doctor, who is said to have come in contact with at least 150 people, has since been suspended.

“When we learned late last week that a healthcare worker, who has been infected with the virus, worked in a long-term care facility, Public Health took immediate steps to determine its spread," said Russell. "All residents and staff were rapidly tested and steps were taken within the home to isolate residents from one another."

Manoir de la Vallée

"We took decisive measures to keep COVID-19 out of these facilities, which have caused headache and hardship for many New Brunswick families," said Russell. "We knew it could happen here as well. Now, in spite of our efforts, it has."

Of the 12 active cases in N.B., five of the cases are at Manoir de la Vallée. The cases include one staff member and four residents. Russell added that the staff member didn't work in any other facilities.

Since the outbreak began at the facility, 10 of the 28 staff have resigned – those positions have since been filled.

Professionals from Extra-Mural and Ambulance New Brunswick remain at the facility coordinating clinical care for residents in collaboration with regional staff from the Department of Social Development, Department of Health and Vitalité Health Network. All staff and residents of the facility have been tested.

“I understand the stress that this is causing for residents and staff of the Manoir and their families. An outbreak at a seniors' home is everyone's greatest fear," said Russell. “Please be assured that our overriding priority is the health and safety of the residents and those who care for them.”

Russell noted care homes in the region will be tested within the coming week.

Premier Blaine Higgs said he knows it is upsetting to hear that the virus is connected to a long-term care facility.

“My thoughts are with the residents and front-line employees in this facility, as well as their families,” said Higgs. “This doesn’t just affect people who live in and around Campbellton, this impacts all New Brunswickers.”

Meanwhile, Russell added that, out of an abundance of caution, all residents of long term care facilities in Zone 5 will be tested for COVID-19 during the first week of June.

Working together

Higgs also expressed his gratitude to everyone going above and beyond and working tirelessly to contain the province's latest outbreak.

“I am grateful to all of the people who have been working on the front lines and behind the scenes,” said Higgs. “So many New Brunswickers are doing great work at this moment to contain the virus and put our province back on track.”

Return to orange

While most of the province is in the Yellow level of New Brunswick’s recovery plan, Zone 5 remains at the Orange level.

The following rules apply to Zone 5 only:

  • A two-household bubble is permitted. Your household can join up with one other household, if both households mutually agree. You must not have close contact with anyone else. You cannot join up with more than one household or bubble.
  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses such as acupuncturists and naturopaths cannot operate at this time.
  • Personal services businesses such as barbers, hair stylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists, and tattoo artists cannot operate at this time.

Officials from WorkSafeNB and the Department of Public Safety remain in the area to ensure compliance. They will closely monitor and assess the situation in the days ahead. Those with concerns can contact a toll-free information line by calling 1-844-462-8387 or by emailing helpaide@gnb.ca.

Phase 3 continues with delays

The rest of New Brunswick is currently in the Yellow level of the COVID-19 recovery plan – allowing for the reopening of more business and activities.

The yellow phase of the province’s recovery plan will be rolled out in stages over the next few weeks. Health officials note that Public Health measures and guidelines must still be followed.

Due to the outbreak, activities previously scheduled to be permitted on Friday are being delayed until June 5 to allow time for officials to determine the extent of the current outbreak.

Activities being delayed include

  • Outdoor public gatherings of 50 people or fewer.
  • Indoor religious services, including weddings and funerals, of 50 people or fewer.
  • Low-contact team sports.

Openings being delayed include

  • swimming pools, saunas and waterparks
  • gyms, yoga and dance studios
  • rinks and indoor recreational facilities
  • pool halls and bowling alleys

Information on public health recovery phases, measures and guidelines is available online.

Keeping numbers low

To further slow the spread of the virus in the province, it is important to follow the following personal actions:

  • Stay in your own home, or within your two-household bubble, as much as possible.
  • Maintain two metres of physical distance between yourself and others when you go out.
  • When physical distancing cannot be maintained, face masks that cover your mouth and nose will be required to be worn in public.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly several times a day.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs and countertops.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.

Symptom check

"Effective Monday, we're only going to be testing people who have two symptoms in our list of symptoms, and we won't be taking walk-in tests in our assessment centres," said Russell. "Anybody who has symptoms will get tested."

The province is urging residents showing two of the following symptoms, to contact 811 or their primary health-care provider for further direction:

• fever above 38°C or signs of fever (such as chills);

• a new cough or worsening chronic cough;

• sore throat;

• runny nose;

• headache;

• a new onset of fatigue;

• a new onset of muscle pain;

• diarrhea;

• loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and

• in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes. In this instance, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.