New Brunswick

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: RCMP officer tests positive, another in isolation

Public Health says of the 98 cases, 57 are travel-related, 31 are close contacts of confirmed cases and four cases are from community transmission.

West district RCMP member isolating at home after diagnosis

New Brunswick RCMP say the confirmed case of COVID-19 within their ranks 'is not believed to be related to frontline interaction.' (CBC)

A member of the RCMP  in New Brunswick has tested positive for COVID-19, the RCMP said Saturday.

In a media release, the RCMP said the police officer in the west district is isolating at home after being diagnosed with the respiratory infection.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Hans Ouellette said there was no interaction between the police officer and member of the public while the officer was on the job.

"I can assure you that this case is not believed to be related to any frontline interaction," he said. "And there's no anticipated impact on frontline policing at this time."

This release comes hours after the province announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. All of the new cases are in the Fredericton area, bringing the total infections to 98. 

This was not unexpected for us.- Cst. Hans Ouellette, RCMP

Ouellette said privacy concerns prevent him from sharing what duties the officer had, how they contracted the disease and when they were diagnosed.

The police officer is part of the west district detachment, which starts at the border in Edmundston and runs all the way down to St. Stephen and St. George, Ouellette said.

Ouellette said one other employee was placed in isolation "as a precaution" because that person had contact with the officer who tested positive. He could not say if the second employee was displaying symptoms.

He said the New Brunswick RCMP has been prepared for a COVID-19 diagnosis among its workers.

"This was not unexpected for us," he said.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, says the province continues to look for community transmission. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Ouellette said the RCMP is allowing some office staff to work from home and is implementing physical distancing for people who continue to work in offices.

All frontline officers have personal protective equipment, he said.

"You will see some of our police officers wearing masks, for example, or gloves or goggles when responding to certain calls that may involve possible exposure," he said.

Before sending officers out, dispatchers ask callers questions such as whether anyone has been out of the country, or been exposed to COVID-19.

Province investigates transmission mode of six cases

On Saturday, the province provided an updated breakdown of how most COVID-19 cases were transmitted.

Of the 98 total cases, 57 are travel-related, 31 are close contacts of confirmed cases and four cases are from community transmission. The province is still investigating how six cases were transmitted, including the most recent three.

As of Saturday, six patients have been hospitalized and two have been discharged. Four patients remain in hospital, including one person in the intensive care unit, the release said.

The new cases have been confirmed with testing at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre lab in Moncton. As of Saturday, the province has conducted 5005 tests, but that does not mean 5005 people were tested. One person could have been tested more than once.

The release says 28 patients have recovered so far.

The new cases are:

  • A person aged 20-29 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
  • A person aged 30-39 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
  • A person aged 50-59 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)

"We are at the point where we are going to see more community transmission,'' said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health in the news release.

"We are adapting daily to this changing health-care crisis. But the one thing that has not changed is the importance of people staying home."

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