FREDERICTON (GNB) – Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, today announced four new additional presumptive cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of presumptive or positive cases in New Brunswick to six.

All four new presumptive patients, who are in Zone 3 (the central part of the province), are mildly symptomatic and are all close contacts to an earlier confirmed travel-related case.

“I understand that today’s announcement might be frightening for New Brunswickers, but I ask that everyone keep this in perspective,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “All of these cases are connected to the first case. This has not spread through the community, and that is significant in terms of risk to the public. The risk to you and your family is still relatively low, and the majority of people who do get sick will fully recover.”

The cases are as follows:

·         male, between 50 and 60 years of age;

·         female, between 50 and 60 years of age;

·         male, between 20 and 30 years of age; and,

·         male, between 20 and 30 years of age.

Diagnostic testing confirmed the cases as presumptive. Additional testing to confirm the cases as a positive COVID-19 case will take place at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

“Active contact tracing is being conducted by regional public health officials. These individuals are already isolating, and Public Health officials have already taken swift action to implement effective precautions to prevent the infection from spreading,” said Russell.

Due to extreme caller volume, New Brunswickers are reminded to only call Tele Care 811 if you experience COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) and have travelled internationally in the last 14 days or have contact with a case. If you are not experiencing symptoms visit a dedicated web page about COVID-19 novel coronavirus for more information on how to self-monitor, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk. The web page will be continuously updated.

Another issue that has arisen is the excessive buying of consumer goods, including food, toilet paper, cleaning materials and over the counter medications.

“I want to assure the public that the existing supply chain to our retailers is prepared and capable of assuring a continuous supply of those items we all rely on being available,” said Higgs. “People should follow their normal practices of buying what they need, with the confidence that the necessities will continue to be available on an ongoing basis.”

Public Health continues to be in constant contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and with other jurisdictions to monitor the developing situation.