24 new COVID-19 cases reported, N.B. surpasses 700 total cases on Thursday


24 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday, bringing New Brunswick's total cases past the 700 mark.

Public Health says five of the new cases are in the Moncton Region (Zone 1), with two in the Saint John Region (Zone 2), seven in the Fredericton Region (Zone 3), and five in both the Edmundston (Zone 4) and Campbellton (Zone 5) Regions.

At a press conference in Fredericton on Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said, "the current situation is the worst we have seen so far during this pandemic".

She added the 130 active cases currently in the province is the most seen at any point since the pandemic began.

Of those cases, there is one person being treated in ICU. 

Public Health has declared outbreaks of COVID-19 at Fundy Manor II, a 28-bed special care home in Hillsborough, and at Parkland Riverview's Canterbury Hall, a 60-bed special care home in Riverview, after a positive case was identified at each location on Wednesday.

Staff and residents of both facilities will be tested by members of the Provincial Rapid Outbreak Management Team on Thursday and contact tracing has begun.

Also Wednesday a positive case was confirmed at Bessborough School in Moncton and students stayed home Thursday for an operational response day.

Health Minister Dorothy Sheppard says the province has to do what it can to stop the variant of COVID-19 currently in the United Kingdom from entering New Brunswick, and government will release updated travel information on Friday.

Overall, 157,265 tests have been conducted in New Brunswick, resulting in 717 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Nine deaths have been linked to the novel coronavirus and 577 people have recovered after testing positive.

118 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since January 1st.