New Brunswick

'Several' members of premier's family also test positive for COVID-19

Premier Blaine Higgs says "several" members of his immediate family have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Premier Blaine Higgs says his symptoms remain 'mild' and are 'lessening' since he announced testing positive

Premier Blaine Higgs, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 29, is isolating, but has continued to work virtually. (GNB/YouTube)

Premier Blaine Higgs says "several" members of his immediate family have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Higgs announced Dec. 31 he had tested positive for COVID-19 with a rapid test and was isolating with his family while awaiting a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) lab test.

"I am certain I have COVID, and so I have not gone for a PCR test," Higgs said in an emailed statement.

New Brunswick now reserves PCR tests, which are considered the gold-standard diagnostic test, for people at the highest risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Higgs would meet the criteria, which includes people who are symptomatic and aged 50 or over.

He has continued to test positive on rapid tests, he said, and has been isolating since the onset of his symptoms on Dec. 25.

"My symptoms continue to be the same but are lessening," said Higgs, who was double-vaccinated with AstraZeneca and had received a booster shot.

"They are mild and much like those of a cold. I have a slight cough and some head congestion."

Once people test positive on a rapid test, no further testing is required, according to the province's website.

"You will continue to test positive for up to 90 days, even though you may no longer be infectious. Therefore, do not keep testing until you get a negative result," it states.

Under new isolation rules, which took effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., people who test positive with a rapid test must isolate for five days if they are vaccinated with two doses, or 10 days if they have not received two doses or are immunocompromised.

Their isolation period starts the day they test positive.

Higgs tested positive on Dec. 29.

People may stop isolating once they've completed their isolation period if they've been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications and their symptoms are improving.

After isolation, they must wear a mask continuously and avoid vulnerable settings and gatherings for the next five days.

The premier did not respond to questions about whether any of his office staff have tested positive.

There is always a contingency plan to ensure government will continue should I be unable to perform my duties. However, at this time that is not an issue.- Blaine Higgs, premier

Higgs, who is married, has four grown daughters and at least four grandchildren, did not specify which members of his family have tested positive or discuss their condition. Nor did he say whether they tested positive with rapid tests or PCR tests.

On Dec. 31 he indicated his wife, Marcia, and his "family members" were double-vaccinated and "boosted."

He also said he had made the difficult decision not to visit his in-laws during the Christmas holidays. "We wanted to protect them and now, given the circumstances, we know we did the right thing."

Higgs has continued to work, conducting all of his usual duties virtually, he said.

"There is always a contingency plan to ensure government will continue should I be unable to perform my duties. However, at this time that is not an issue."

"I want to thank the many people who have reached out to express care and concern," he added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those who had conveyed best wishes for the premier's recovery, with a post on social media.

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