Testing protocols for COVID-19 expanded; two new cases

April 13, 2020

FREDERICTON (GNB) – Testing for COVID-19 in New Brunswick is being broadened to capture more potential cases of the disease.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, announced that testing would now be recommended for people exhibiting at least two of the following five symptoms:

  • fever above 38°C;
  • a new cough or worsening chronic cough;
  • sore throat;
  • runny nose; and
  • headache.

Those who are exhibiting at least two of these symptoms are advised to immediately self-isolate and contact 811 or their family physician for further direction. Symptoms can range from relatively mild (runny nose and sore throat) to severe such as difficulty breathing.

“Having two of these five symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19,” said Russell. “But by isolating yourself quickly, you lessen the chance that the disease will spread to your family, neighbours and the wider community, if you are infected.”

Two new cases

Testing at the microbiology laboratory at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital Centre in Moncton has identified two new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick to 116.

Of the 116 cases, 66 are travel-related, 36 are close contacts of confirmed cases, seven are the result of community transmission and seven remain under investigation.

During the pandemic, 12 people have been hospitalized and seven have since been discharged. Three of the five patients remaining in hospital are in an intensive care unit.

To date, 74 people have recovered.

The new cases are:

  • An individual aged 40-49 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
  • An individual aged 50-59 in Zone 5 (Campbellton region)

Nursing home residents

“Caring for our seniors is always of the utmost importance for our government, and it has been one of our key priorities since the start of this pandemic,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.

Steps taken to protect residents living in nursing homes include:

  • Not allowing visitors.
  • Implementing advanced screening processes for staff prior to their entering work, including taking everyone’s temperature and requiring that several screening questions be answered.
  • Instructing on-site physicians and clinical staff to care for residents whenever possible, to avoid any unnecessary transfers to hospitals.
  • Ongoing training for nursing home staff on the proper use of personal protective equipment, and the directive that all staff with direct patient contact are required to use this equipment.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation in our nursing homes, and we will take additional measures if needed as the pandemic continues,” said Higgs.

Enforcement of state of emergency

Law enforcement agencies are receiving calls regularly from people concerned about violations to the province’s state of emergency declaration, and they are responding.

Seventeen tickets have been issued in the last seven days; 26 in total since the emergency order went into effect. Fines range from $292.50 to $10,200.

“Issuing fines is a last resort,” said Higgs. “Our goal is compliance, not punishment. I hope no one else puts himself or herself in a position where officers have to issue a ticket.”

Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.

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