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New Brunswick reports first positive test of COVID-19 since April 18
HALIFAX -- New Brunswick has reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 since April 18.
"It's not a failure on anyone's part, it means our surveillance system is working," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference in Fredericton. "We never stopped looking for new cases because we knew that eventually we would find them."
The person who tested positive is aged 30-39 and lives in the Fredericton region. Russell said the cause is under investigation.
It is the 119th confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. All of the other 118 people have recovered from the virus.
Russell said she expected there to be more cases because of how widespread the virus is in neighbouring jurisdictions.
"This is part of our new normal," said Russell. "New cases will appear and, when they do, we will take the necessary steps to isolate them and track down those they have been in contact with."
She added that this positive test is not related to the person who was on a WestJet flight to Moncton last Monday.
Russell said that person, who was on WestJet Flight 3456 on April 27, was not tested in New Brunswick and is now in another province.
"We have determined that the person in question landed in Moncton and, while we believe the person is not in New Brunswick, we are confirming with another jurisdiction the person’s whereabouts," said Russell. "The established protocol for travel by known cases, where provincial and territorial officials are expected to notify their counterparts in the receiving jurisdiction, was not followed in this case. We have reached out to federal government officials to get information about this situation, and to discuss what can be done to try to reduce the risk of this happening again."
She says the case exposed some "gaps" in the sharing of information between federal and provincial authorities.
"We've had several meetings in the past week around how can we tighten things up," Russell said. "How can we make things very clear and definitive so we can make sure our borders are not as porous as they are right now?"
Russell says it's not known how the passenger got through airport screening for COVID-19.
Anybody who was on that flight should be in self-isolation anyway, but Russell reminded them to do so if they are not already, to monitor their symptoms, and to contact 811 if they show two from the list provided by the province on the self-assessment portal.
Russell encouraged New Brunswickers to freely use 811 to ask questions -- even if they feel they are only showing mild symptoms.
Once again she reminded people of the pandemic basics:
- stay in your two-household bubble;
- if you go out, maintain physical distancing and wear a community face mask;
- continue to practise good hygiene by washing your hands regularly;
- don't touch your face; and,
- wash and disinfect all high-contact surface areas.