New Brunswick health officials say they have identified two new cases of the B.1.351 variant of COVID-19, first detected in South Africa.
The two cases were reported in the Saint John region earlier this month. The province says one of the cases is related to international travel and the other case is a contact of that case.
Health officials also reported 10 new cases of the virus. Six were in the Edmundston region and four in the Moncton region.
“Today’s news further reinforces the need for every New Brunswicker to follow public health guidelines,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, in a news release.
“These new variants are more contagious, so it is important that we take the necessary precautions now to reduce the transmission of the virus and any of its variants in our communities.”
As of Monday there are 145 known active cases of COVID-19.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick to date is 1,732, and the number of recoveries is1,553.
There have been 33 deaths as a result of the virus in the province.
“Eighteen patients are hospitalized, including 13 in an intensive care unit,” said the province.
The city of Edmundston and the upper Madawaska region is in lockdown due to a rising number of variant cases.
Most other communities in that zone, including Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls remain in the red level of COVID-19 recovery. Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick regions in Zone 4, remain in the yellow level.
All other zones in the province are also at the yellow level of recovery.
“No travel is recommended in and out of lockdown or Red level areas except when necessary, such as for medical appointments and essential work,” said the province.
“This recommendation includes no travel to hockey games or other sporting events in other zones.”