Public health confirms one Miramichi case was B.1.1.7 variant; reports five new infections of COVID-19

New Brunswick Public Health said on Thursday that one recently reported presumptive case of a variant in Zone 7 (Miramichi region) has been confirmed by Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory as a COVID-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Public health also reported five new cases of COVID-19, which are as follows:

  • three of the cases are in Zone 4 (the Edmundston region) and involve two people in their 20s and one person in their 70s.
  • one case is in Zone 1 (the Moncton region) which is travel-related and involves a person in their 20s.
  • one case is in Zone 7 (the Miramichi region) and is a person in their 20s.

All cases are self-isolating.

This raises the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick since the pandemic began to 1,443. Six people have recovered from the novel coronavirus, lowering the number of active cases to 36. Three people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.

There have been 28 deaths since the pandemic began. On Wednesday, public health staff conducted 767 tests, raising the overall total to 231,307 tests completed.

COVID-19 TESTING IN ZONE 7

Concern over the number of cases in the Miramichi region – along with the confirmed case of B.1.1.7, a COVID-19 variant first discovered in the U.K. -- New Brunswick public health has set up mass-testing clinics in Zone 7 to see if there is any "further spread" in the area, the province said in a news release. The testing is available for people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 but want to be tested.

Hundreds of residents have lined up around the block to get tested. Some say they waited several hours. Even in below-freezing temperatures, residents waited patiently in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus.

"The next couple of days will let us know what we’re facing," said Miramichi MLA Michelle Conroy. "We’ve been told the numbers have been low in the past so this will give us a good indication of any outbreak that we may have here."

Testing is being held Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St., Miramichi. No appointment is necessary. Screening tests will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Asymptomatic people do not need to self-isolate while awaiting results, unless advised to do so by Public Health.

People with symptoms are asked to request a test online or call 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre.

EXPOSURE NOTIFICATION

Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Feb. 20 while on the following flight:

  • Flight Air Canada 8906
  • From Montreal to Moncton, departing at 7:10 p.m.
  • Symptoms may develop up to, and including, March 6

Individuals who travelled on this flight should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the flight. Should any COVID-19 symptoms develop, they are directed to self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or to call 811 to get tested.

Public Health also reminded residents of the Miramichi region about a series of potential exposures at various locations in the community between Feb. 14 and 28. A list of all potential public exposures is available online.

ALL ZONES REMAIN IN ORANGE LEVEL

All zones remain in the Orange level under the province’s mandatory order.