There are four more presumptive cases of coronavirus in New Brunswick, according to the province’s chief medical officer of health.
Dr. Jennifer Russell says all of the presumptive cases were in close contact with the province’s first case, a woman between the ages of 50 and 60 who recently returned from France. That case was announced on Wednesday and confirmed the next day.
“The diagnostic testing confirmed the cases as presumptive,” Russell said. “When we announce a presumptive case we are very, very confident that it will be confirmed.”
Russell says the four new presumptive cases include two men between the ages of 20 and 30, a woman between the ages of 50 and 60, and a man between the ages of 50 and 60.
“I know this can be very disconcerting and very stressful to hear, but I am not surprised by this,” Russell said.
“I expect that there will be more travel-related cases that result in a cluster of very close contacts or household members.”
There are now five presumptive cases in New Brunswick and one confirmed. Russell says active contact-tracing is being conducted by regional public health officials.
Russell said the regional health authorities are adding standup community assessment centres across New Brunswick and will be made available on an appointment-only basis in order to minimize risk.
“Again, this is for people who are experiencing symptoms,” Russell stressed. “Please don’t call 811 if you don’t have symptoms.”
Premier Blaine Higgs confirmed Sunday that 200 coronavirus tests have been conducted in the province at this point.
“We need to walk the line between preparing for this and over-reacting.”
Higgs said he spoke with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Saturday to discuss the prospect of closing the border between Canada and the United States, but said there are currently no plans to do so.
“The concern that I was expressing are concerns that we’re getting about the U.S. closing international borders outside of Canada and us not doing that,” said Higgs. “We think it’s important that we be in sync … it allows the supply chains of goods north and south to continue.
More to come.
Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk for Canadians is low.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
–With files from Graeme Benjamin