New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 2 temporary foreign workers diagnosed with respiratory illness

Public Health has announced three new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number of active cases to 29.

Both cases are in the Moncton area, while a separate case of COVID-19 was found in the Campbellton region

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer, said there are three new cases of COVID-19 in the province. (Government of New Brunswick)

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  • 29 active cases of COVID-19
  • Adapting to pandemic by schools will be costly
  • Seasonal residents should let the province know they're coming
  • Premier doesn't want taxes to increase
  • New Brunswick won't ban commercial evictions
  • Campbellton's emergency room closed until further notice
  • What to do if you have symptoms

Public Health has announced three new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number of active cases to 29.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said one case is a  person in their 20s in the Campbellton region. There are two cases in the Moncton area involving a person in their 20s and another person in their 30s. 

Both cases in Moncton involve temporary foreign workers who were tested on their 10th day after arriving in the province and going into self-isolation.

"Our public health teams are working hard to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout our province,"  she said during Monday's news briefing.

Premier Blaine Higgs said he doesn't want taxes to increase once a vaccine is found. (Government of New Brunswick)

"And while we are moving forward with recovery, it remains as important as ever each and every New Brunswicker do their part."

Russell said both temporary foreign workers were in isolation when they were diagnosed with the respiratory illness.

A temporary foreign worker in the Moncton area was also diagnosed with the virus last week. All three cases were tested on the 10th day after their arrival into New Brunswick.

These temporary foreign workers will continue to isolate until they are tested twice in a seven day period. If both tests come back negative, they can go to work. 

"These individuals have had minimal contact with others since arriving in New Brunswick," she said. 

Russell also offered her condolences to family members of a resident of the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville, who died over the weekend. The person is the second in New Brunswick to die from the disease. The person was in their 80s. 

Russell would provide no details about the person who died, but she did say the individual was living in the the wing where the virus initially broke out.

An 84-year-old long-term care home resident was the first person in New Brunswick to die of COVID-19.

Daniel Ouellette was a resident at the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville. He died earlier this month.

A cluster of cases in the Campbellton region surfaced in mid-May, after a doctor travelled to Quebec and did not self-isolate after returning home to the area. 

Daniel Ouellette, 84, died from COVID-19 at the beginning of June. (Submitted by Michel Ouellette)

Many of the cases are linked to Manoir de la Vallée. Russell said Monday there are up to 12 public servants who will be helping out at the long term care facility, after the province put out a call to government staff earlier this month. 

29 active cases of COVID-19

Out of the 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, 129 have recovered, including nine related to the outbreak in the Campbellton region. The province said there are 29 active cases of the virus in New Brunswick.

Four patients are hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit.

As of Monday, 37,509 tests have been conducted.

All areas of New Brunswick are in the yellow level of the COVID-19 recovery plan, with the exception of the Campbellton area. The yellow phase is aimed at the gradual reopening of businesses and activities while working to prevent a resurgence of transmission.

The Campbellton area remains at the orange level of the recovery plan.

Adapting to pandemic by schools will be costly

Education Minister Dominic Cardy says millions of dollars will be spent on New Brunswick education as numerous adaptations are made to return students to school safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, 

"It's going to cost us lots of money but if there's anything worth investing money in it's education," he said during an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

"If we come out on the other side of this pandemic and we've damaged a generation of students and their opportunities to learn and get on in life." 

Cardy said that would do more damage to the province than anything COVID-19 ever did. 

In addition to the extra money being spent to hire more teachers and adjust bus routes, the education minister said millions will be spent on cleaning supplies to keep the schools clean.

Cardy said there were two main factors taken into consideration when the plan was being developed: health and safety of students and staff and education. 

Education Minister Dominic Cardy expects the province to spend millions of dollars toward New Brunswick education during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo submitted by New Brunswick government)

"What we want for the students is to be able to go to school and come home and say I feel good about myself and I learned something." 

When it comes to class size, Cardy said the planned smaller class sizes for kindergarten to Grade 2 may prove beneficial in the future if their test results show it. 

"If New Brunswickers see results in their education system based on changes that have been made because of an emergency like COVID-19, and they still see them as being successes and improvements, I can't imagine any party or anyone would be interested in reversing those." 

Seasonal residents should let the province know they're coming 

Premier Blaine Higgs recommends seasonal residents looking to return to New Brunswick this summer contact the province to let them know they are coming into the province. That way, Higgs said a government response can be sent to them to have in their possession once they arrive at the New Brunswick border. 

"That way they'll know they won't have a problem at the border, and they will be able to go immediately to their residence." 

Higgs said residents will be stopped at the New Brunswick border and asked where they're going, why and if they have property in the province and details of where it's located. 

Premier doesn't want taxes to increase

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the federal government will extend the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), with details to follow in the days ahead.

The CERB is due to run out soon for people who have been on the benefit since it was first launched in April, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People can only claim the benefit for 16 weeks — four eligibility periods — and the end of the program's fourth eligibility period is early July.

The Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville has seen a cluster of COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

While it's important to have adequate workforce and an economy that continues to grow, Premier Blaine Higgs said he doesn't want to see taxes increase in coming years.

"It's not about sitting around waiting for a vaccine, it's about managing our business and moving forward until it arrives and beyond," he said.

New Brunswick won't ban commercial evictions

Premier Blaine Higgs said he doesn't have any plans to ban commercial evictions after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Canadian provinces to do so over concerns that small businesses won't be able to cover rent costs.

Since the pandemic first started, Higgs there hasn't been many evictions. And if a business is struggling, he has asked they speak with Opportunities New Brunswick to come up with a solution. 

"It's part of getting back to normal," he said, "We don't think landlords want to lose their tenants anymore than a tenant wants to be evicted in these commercial spaces."

Higgs said now that New Brunswick's economy is opening up again, businesses are starting to have an easier time paying rent on time. 

"I see no reason at this stage to further implement that policy."

Campbellton's emergency room closed until further notice

The Campbellton Regional Hospital's emergency room is closed until further notice because of the spread of COVID-19 in the region, the Vitalité Health Network says.

Visits to the hospital are also prohibited, and all non-emergency services are cancelled until further notice as well.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said there have been eight cases of COVID-19 involving health-care workers at the hospital where a number of COVID-19 patients are being cared for, including the case that was announced today in the region.

She said health-care workers need to take extra precautions to protect themselves against the virus when caring for people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Last week, Vitalité Health Network announced that the Campbellton Regional Hospital will open its emergency department, but it was closed again over the weekend. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The hospital closure comes after the New Brunswick hospital announced it was reopening last week.

The hospital's emergency department has been closed since the end of May, and all non-urgent or elective health-care services were cancelled due to the high risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

What to do if you have symptoms

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website at gnb.ca. 

Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: a fever above 38 C, a new cough or worsening chronic cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, new onset of fatigue, new onset of muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with two of those symptoms are asked to:

  • Stay at home.

  • Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.

  • Describe symptoms and travel history.

  • Follow instructions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from Gail Harding, John Paul Tasker

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