Changes to hotel isolation complicate rules for travellers entering New Brunswick

New Brunswick reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, as well as changes to its hotel isolation rules for some travellers – and not everyone is happy about them.

Kelly Laing and her husband are driving across the border Saturday into New Brunswick after attending a funeral out-of-province.

Laing says they were planning on staying in one of the province’s designated isolation hotels. But, with some changes to the isolation rules, the province says there may be individual cases that will require alternatives, which could allow for some people to stay at a residence.

Now, Laing and her husband are not sure how long they will have to stay in the hotel, as they have their own home in the province.

"I think the most frustrating part is not knowing what's going on and trying to figure it out," says Laing.

"This plan was put in place pretty quickly and I think a lot of people were confused. It seems like many people are in different situations."

Travellers entering the province for leisure or non-essential reasons are being asked to contact the province to see if they are qualified to isolate elsewhere.

"In our situation, we want to follow the rules, but we also know that we would be more than capable of quarantining for 14 days in our residence," Laing says.

Green Party Leader David Coon says he's heard from many travellers who have run into issues with needing to isolate in a hotel.

"It's fantastic the government decided to bring some flexibility to the isolation rules that enables some common sense to be applied to situations where people cannot easily manage to spend seven days in a hotel for various reasons," says Coon.

These changes come as New Brunswick reports 18 new cases Saturday, 12 of those are located in the Edmundston region. The province has 141 active cases.

Meanwhile in Fredericton, many are in isolation to allow for contact tracing and testing.

Public Health says that many individuals who were tested at George Street Middle School earlier this week might have to get tested again this weekend -- after there was a positive case confirmed at the school.

In a statement, Dr. Jennifer Russell said that the uncertainties surrounding the variant first confirmed in India requires increased vigilance, and certain individuals must be re-tested.

Residents and staff at Magee House at the University of New Brunswick will be tested for the third time on Sunday as 12 cases have been linked to the residence.

The province also said Saturday that there will be enhanced check-ins on returning travellers who are approved to isolate at another location.

Those who do not isolate will face fines and be directed to stay at one of the isolation hotels.