New Brunswick

2nd presumptive case of COVID-19 announced in N.B.

New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell gave an update on COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, Saturday morning.

The first case of COVID-19 in the province was announced on Wednesday

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, has announced a second presumptive case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. (CBC)

There is a second presumptive case of COVID-19 in the province. 

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, made the announcement during a Saturday morning update.

She said this case involves a man between the ages of 50 and 60 who was a close contact with the person involved in the first case and had not travelled himself.

He is from the southeast part of the province. 

"While I know some New Brunswickers may be very concerned about the second case, this is not unexpected," said Russell.

The first case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick was a woman who had travelled to France. That case was announced on Wednesday.  

"The pattern that we are seeing across Canada with travel-related cases is that we expect to see small clusters of close contacts," she said.

Russell said the testing was done at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital in Moncton and sent to Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory for confirmation. 

2nd 'presumptive' COVID-19 case recorded in New Brunswick, top doctor says

CBC News New Brunswick

1 year ago
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Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, announced a second presumptive case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Saturday. 1:27

Russell said both people are in self-isolation and all their close contacts have been traced and informed.

Public Health is in touch with anyone that was a close contact on a daily basis.

No public contact

"As soon as you have been identified as a close contact you're in the system. You're going to be spoken to over the phone every day making sure that you don't have a temperature, making sure that you don't have a cough, making sure you don't have any symptoms at all." 

She said if anyone had been in contact with the public the information would be released, but that is not the case.

"If there were any broader concerns about exposure we would be telling you that." 

Only people with symptoms are being tested for COVID-19.

"Testing for COVID-19 happens when you have symptoms," said Russell. "Testing when there are no symptoms will not tell you if you have COVID-19 and can not be used to clear you return to work or school."

COVID-19 symptoms consist of a cough, fever and shortness of breath, Russell said.

"If we get a new case I would expect it to be travel-related case or somebody in very, very close contact with that person. And by close contact, it's usually a household family member." 

Limit travel

Premier Blaine Higgs announced Friday night public schools will be closed in New Brunswick for two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. That came at the recommendation of an all-party committee. 

Russell said Friday she would support the government if it decided to close public schools. 

On Saturday, Russell said her advice is to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel outside of Canada.

"This means reconsidering your vacation, sporting and entertainment events, large international conferences and other elective travel."

Russell said cancelling or postponing non-essential travel was particularly important for older adults and people with underlying medical conditions who are at a higher risk for developing a severe disease.

"By making the choice to stay home and not travel you are protecting yourself and your family and doing your part to help us slow the spread of coronavirus and protect the most vulnerable in our communities," she said.

Russell said those who travel abroad may be subject to the measures other countries are taking and the trip may end up lasting longer than expected.

Call 811 

Russell advises anyone with symptoms of  COVID-19 to call Tele-Care 811. But those who don't have any symptoms are advised to seek information on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website or to call 1-833-784-4397.

On Friday Russell said the Tele-Care 811 line was "pretty much jam-packed" with people calling about their health and seeking direction.

When asked about the possible set up of coronavirus screening stations, Russell said the regional health authorities will be dealing with it, if necessary. 

What to do if you have any symptoms?

Symptoms of coronavirus can include fever or cough. In this case, residents should:

  • Stay at home.
  • Immediately call Tele-Care 811.

  • Describe symptoms and travel history.

  • Follow instructions carefully.

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