COVID-19 case and contact management FAQ

1.    I have symptoms that could be COVID-19, but I have been vaccinated.  Should I get a COVID-19 test?

Yes, Public Health strongly recommends that people with two or more COVID-19 symptoms get tested.  It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 even if you have been vaccinated.  This will also allow Public Health to monitor COVID-19 activity and detect any potential new variants. Depending on the time of year, you may also be tested for other viruses, such as influenza, with the same swab.

2.    I have symptoms that could be COVID-19.  Do I need to isolate while I request a test and wait for my results?

This depends on whether you are vaccinated or have had a significant exposure to someone with COVID-19.  Those individuals who require isolation while awaiting testing/results:

  • Individuals identified by public health as part of contact investigation or outbreak management;
  • Individuals who receive a positive point of care (‘rapid’) test result, typically through a workplace, pharmacy, or other sentinel screening program;
  • Individuals who have been present at a public exposure location and have 2 or more symptoms; and,
  • Individuals who are unvaccinated and develop 2 or more symptoms.

3.    I am fully vaccinated; do I need to isolate if I develop symptoms and get tested?

If you are fully vaccinated and don’t have any known exposures, you do not need to isolate while waiting for your results unless directed to by Public Health.

4.    I have tested positive for COVID-19.  What now?

Please isolate away from others and wait for a phone call from Public Health.  It will continue to be important that you are able to provide Public Health with some basic information about where you have been and who you have been in contact with.  In cases of uncomplicated illness, you will now be asked to isolate for 10 days (previously, it was for 14).

5.    What other measures may be asked of me as a contact of a case of COVID-19?

As a contact of a case, you may be asked to get a COVID-19 test and watch for symptoms and isolate if they develop, restrict your movements, avoid vulnerable settings and social gatherings. Carefully follow any public health advice that is provided to you.

6.    Do I have to follow Public Health direction after the Mandatory Order is lifted?

In New Brunswick, the Public Health Act has been in place since prior to the establishment of the Mandatory Order and provides the medical officer of health with the ability to order specific actions for certain people and in certain settings to control the spread of communicable disease or to manage health hazards.  These powers may be used in specific circumstances when the risk is determined to be high enough.

7.    Will there be COVID-19 outbreaks declared in Green and how will that be determined?

An outbreak can be declared by the Regional Medical Officer of Health in a specific setting (e.g. workplace, care facility, congregate living location) based on setting-specific factors and vaccination status of the group or setting.  There is no set number of cases which will determine when an outbreak will be declared, but typically there would be some evidence of transmission in the identified setting.

8.    There is an outbreak in my facility (business, school, workplace, etc.).  What am I expected to do?

Guidance and support will continue to be available to you from Public Health and other provincial partners such as Emergency Management Operations, WorkSafeNB, etc.  We will continue to work together with you to ensure the needs of your site are met, and that you and other individuals present remain healthy and safe.  We continue to ask for your cooperation if you are contacted by Public Health.

9.  Will there still be public exposure notifications (stores, businesses or workplaces) where a case may have exposed the public at a given date and time?

Yes, should a situation arise where a case was in a location where they could have exposed people they don’t know, a public exposure notification will be issued in collaboration with the location. The guidance in these situations would remain the same:

  • Self-monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after the potential exposure.
  • If any COVID-19 symptoms develop, isolate immediately and book a test, either online or by calling 811.
    • It can take up to fouteen (14) days before you would test positive after being exposed to COVID-19;
    • If your test results come back negative, continue self-monitoring for any symptoms and get tested immediately if you develop symptoms.
  • Avoid visiting settings with vulnerable populations such as nursing homes, correctional facilities, and shelters over the next 14 days.
  • Follow Public Health advice, including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining physical distancing in public settings.

10.  Why have some people been asked to isolate, but not others?

Decisions around isolation are based on multiple factors.  Some of these may be related to an individual’s personal health status.  Other factors may involve how long someone was in contact with the case, what type of contact occurred, vaccination status, and the location where the contact occurred.

11.  Why is the approach to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing changing and could it change again?

As we reach higher levels of vaccination in our communities, the impact of COVID-19 will change.  Not all people will be at equal risk, depending on their vaccination status, the activities they choose to participate in, and the number and types of public health measures that they continue to follow.  Our approach balances the risk of transmission and severe disease against the impact that isolation and quarantine can have on individuals and their families.  As we move from summer into fall/winter, the risks may change (such as new variants). Public Health will be carefully monitoring COVID-19 activity to ensure we adjust our measures if needed.