Long-term care worker among new COVID-19 cases in Campbellton region

Dr. Jennifer Russell speaks at a press briefing. Global News

The new cluster of COVID-19 cases in northern New Brunswick continues to grow.

A long-term care worker, aged 30-39, and another person aged 60-69 are both linked to an infected male doctor in the Campbellton area who had traveled to Quebec and did not self-isolate when returning to New Brunswick.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said a public health team assessed the long-term care facility and opted to test all residents and staff.

READ MORE: 2 new coronavirus cases in N.B., doctor connected to outbreak in Campbellton suspended

“There were about 50 residents in that facility,” Russell told a provincial COVID-19 briefing Friday.

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“And again, we have a rapid deployment team that was sent there to test them all and they’re practically done. So, in terms of the risk to residents and staff, all residents have been isolated and so that’s the other part of the actions that have been taken so far to protect people.”

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There are eight active cases in the region, known as Zone 5, including three health-care workers. Two of the cases are in intensive care.

All are linked to the doctor, who has been suspended indefinitely according to Vitalite Health Network CEO Gilles Lanteigne.

READ MORE: 3 new coronavirus cases confirmed in New Brunswick connected to health-care professional

Lanteigne said it was only a matter of time before more cases emerged in New Brunswick, but the circumstances surrounding the cluster in Campbellton are discouraging.

“We certainly did not expect that it would be a health-care provider,” Lanteigne said. “So from that angle I’d say it’s a greater setback than we anticipated, and that’s why I’m saying it’s sort of a black eye to us.”

The RCMP have been asked to investigate whether criminal charges against the doctor may be warranted.

Lanteigne said Vitalite was contacted Friday.

Premier Blaine Higgs said the investigation needs to run its course.

“I would encourage everyone to let the authorities deal with it,” Higgs said. “I know people are upset, but we don’t want anyone taking matters into their own hands.”

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