New Brunswick’s active COVID-19 cases drop as officials investigate possible case of U.K. variant

Click to play video: 'N.B. moving in the right direction in COVID-19 recovery'
N.B. moving in the right direction in COVID-19 recovery
WATCH: New Brunswick says there are positive signs regarding the COVID-19 outbreak that has gripped the province since the beginning of the year, with the Moncton and Edmundston regions moving in the right direction – Feb 4, 2021

The number of active COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick continued to drop as the province heads into Super Bowl weekend, which New Brunswick’s top doctor has urged residents to not make a “superspreader event.”

At a press conference on Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell said that Super Bowl weekend, typically filled with parties and group gatherings, must be different this year in order to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

She said health officials would prefer no one hold a Super Bowl party but knows that is unrealistic and urged residents to limit social interactions as much as possible.

Read more: Lockdown, red zone COVID-19 restrictions to stay in place in New Brunswick until early next week

Possible 4th case of COVID-19 variant

New Brunswick Health officials say that close contact of an individual who tested positive for the B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K., has also tested positive for COVID-19.

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“It is suspected they have the variant as well,” Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said in a statement.

A sample has been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation.

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Until they can be sure whether or not the infection involves B.1.1.7., New Brunswick health officials say the individual is being treated as if they have the variant, which is much easier to spread than the regular virus.

Active cases dip to 228

With 35 new recoveries and only seven new cases of the virus being reported Friday there are now only 228 active cases of COVID-19.

The province reported one new case in the Moncton zone: an individual between the ages of 80 and 89.

The Fredericton zone reported a single additional case: an individual between the ages of 50 and 59.

Click to play video: 'Moncton daughters granted permission to visit with their mother in palliative care'
Moncton daughters granted permission to visit with their mother in palliative care

Six new cases were reported in the Edmundston zone: an individual between the ages of 20 and 29; an individual between the ages of 30 and 39; and three people between the ages of 70 and 79.

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There have now been 1,325 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, of which 1,078 people have recovered.

Six people are in hospital because of the virus, three of which are in intensive care.

Moncton, Edmundston COVID-19 restrictions remain

The Moncton region has been operating in the red phase of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 response plan since Jan. 19 while the Edmundston region has been under a full lockdown since Jan. 23.

All other regions remain in the orange phase of the province’s pandemic plan.

Read more: Orange alert level could become new baseline for New Brunswick

Russell said Thursday that the province will likely reassess on Monday whether the Moncton and Edmundston regions can have COVID-19 restrictions relaxed.

Russell said the lockdown in the Edmundston region looks like it’s working but they want to see three or fewer cases a day in the region in order to move it out of that phase.

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