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COVID-19: Moncton man unable to get straight answer on isolation requirements

Click to play video: 'Confusion grows over COVID-19 rules in New Brunswick' Confusion grows over COVID-19 rules in New Brunswick
As the number of COVID-19 cases grows in New Brunswick, so does confusion over the rules after testing positive. One Moncton man who spent his Christmas in isolation says he can’t get a straight answer on when he can resume his normal life – Dec 29, 2021

A Moncton man who has been in self-isolation since Dec. 21 is still unable to get a straight answer as to when he can resume his normal life.

Following a business trip to New York City, Matthew Kinney noticed he had COVID-19 symptoms and isolated in Maine while awaiting the results of a PCR test he took on Dec. 21.

After checking federal guidelines and seeing that fully vaccinated travellers can travel to their place of quarantine without waiting for test results as long as they have a suitable quarantine plan, he headed to his home in Moncton to self-isolate on Christmas Eve.

When he received his positive result on Dec. 27, he called Telecare to have a better idea of when he could end his isolation.

“From what I understood, the federal guidelines are a 10-day isolation based on the date you took your test, so that would have put me out (of isolation) on the 31st or the 1st. The provincial guidelines say otherwise. Depending on who you ask, either 14 from the date of the test or the date you received your test results,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

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He first spoke to a receptionist who told him his 14-day isolation would start from the day he received his results, on Dec. 27.

“I said, ‘Well, that seems like a 20-day quarantine, that seems a little extreme.'”

He says a nurse from Telecare contacted him a few hours later saying the 14-day period started on the day he took his PCR test, on Dec. 21.

“Her advice was still a little unclear. Even to date I still don’t have a definitive answer,” he said, adding that he was still waiting for another followup call.

Lack of clarity from official channels 

New Brunswick’s Department of Health has not responded to Global News’ repeated attempts to get clarification on this matter.

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The information available on the province’s web page for self-isolation requirements indicates only that in Level 2 of the province’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, COVID-19-positive individuals must isolate for 14 days. There is no clarification on whether that starts from the date someone takes the test or when they receive their results.

Read more: N.B. COVID-19 testing backlog in the thousands amid continued surge in cases

In an interview on Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, acknowledged there was some confusion around isolation requirements and reiterated the 14-day timeframe for those who have tested positive. She also added that those who test positive on a rapid test must begin isolation before receiving the results of a PCR test, and isolate for the full period.

“Just because you stopped testing positive on a (rapid test) doesn’t mean you’re good to go,” she said.

Kinney plans to continue his isolation until 14 days from the date he received his results.

“If I continue to not get contacted I would assume that I’m out on January 4th. I mean, I can’t stay in quarantine forever.”

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