Province reports 2 new cases of COVID-19 in Campbellton region
Mass testing for asymptomatic people available this weekend in Zone 5
New Brunswick officials announced two new cases COVID-19 in the province Saturday, both in the Campbellton region.
Mass testing for people without symptoms was also underway.
The heightened efforts over the weekend come after Premier Blaine Higgs said the region is close to returning to red-phase restrictions.
The cases in Campbellton region, or Zone 5, are an individual between 20 to 29 and an individual between 50 and 59. Public Health says the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.
The province also reported five recoveries from COVID-19, according to a news release.
That brings New Brunswick down to 72 active cases, including 50 in the Campbellton region. There are 21 active cases in the Moncton region and one in the Saint John region.
6 in hospital
Six people are in the hospital, including one person who is in intensive care.
The Campbellton region remains the only part of the province under the orange recovery phase as it grapples with an outbreak of the virus. The Moncton region returned to yellow-level restrictions on Friday.
The rest of the province remains under yellow-level restrictions.
Residents in Zone 5 have been asked to limit their contacts to a single-household bubble, plus a caregiver or member of their immediate family.
There have been 326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Four people have died and 250 have recovered.
The province conducted 608 tests on Friday for a total of 96,192 since the start of the pandemic in March.
Mass testing this weekend
Public Health is making testing available in the Campbellton region this weekend for people without symptoms.
No appointment will be necessary and asymptomatic people do not need to self-isolate while waiting for results, unless advised otherwise by Public Health.
Testing will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the following locations:
Saturday, Oct. 24, until 7 p.m., at the Memorial Regional Civic Centre in Campbellton.
Sunday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Inch Arran Arena in Dalhousie.
People with symptoms are asked to request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 for an appointment.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, stopped by the testing site in Campbellton and told Radio-Canada she was pleased with turnout. More than 1,000 people are expected to get tested.
"We know that there's community transmission here and we know that people wanted to get tested even if they didn't have any symptoms," she said.
Campbellton resident France Renault went to get tested at the civic centre Saturday morning. She said the wait was about two hours and there were approximately 150 people in line.
"There's potentially people who are asymptomatic and don't know and can spread the virus without knowing it," Renault told Radio-Canada.
Luc Couturier, president of Downtown Campbellton, said he passed by the testing site twice and saw large lines outside.
"I've never seen a turnout like that, even with the first mass testing we had," he said.
School absentee rates up
The Anglophone North School District reported increased absenteeism after confirmed cases in Zone 5 schools.
Meredith Caissie, a district spokesperson, said there were "lower than usual" attendance levels after the announcement of cases.
"Those attendance numbers have steadily been rising since that time," she wrote in an email.
Caissie did not respond to questions asking for specifics and if attendance had returned to normal levels.
Education Minister Dominic Cardy told CBC News on Friday he is aware of the issue.
"We've certainly heard a lot more of that this year which isn't a surprise," he said.
Cardy said some Zone 5 parents who work from home, or are able to take time off have kept their kids home from school.
Public Health has said it is safe for schools to remain open under more stringent, orange-level restrictions, including enhanced mask use.
All four schools in Dalhousie have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Mayor Normand Pelletier said it's "certainly a concern" but he understands why attendance has dropped.
"Parents are taking the necessary precautions those who can by keeping their kids home, but other parents just can't, they have to work to make ends meet," he said.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test 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 one of those symptoms are asked to:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.
With files from Radio-Canada, Gary Moore