On Saturday, three days after New Brunswick health officials confirmed an initial COVID-19 case, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health made another announcement:
“I’m here this morning to announce the second presumptive case of COVID-19, which has been detected in New Brunswick,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, during a press conference.
Diagnostic testing at the George Dumont Hospital in Moncton confirmed the case as presumptive; which means testing will be done at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Lab to confirm the case is positive.
Russell said the patient involved is a man between 50 and 60-years-old who was in contact with a woman known as the province’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. The woman he came in contact with was announced on Wednesday and is between 50 and 60-years-old and recently returned from France.
“It was a close contact of the first case–we are not surprised by that,” said Russell. “Because in other cases in Canada, other travel-related cases in Canada, when there was transmission, it was very close contact–usually within the same household.”
COVID-19 concerns have caused closures and cancellations throughout the Maritimes. On Friday, at New Brunswick’s all-party cabinet committee’s first meeting, Blaine Higgs declared all schools would be closed for two weeks.
However, early learning centres and child-care facilities will remain open
“We classify them as an essential service,” said Higgs. “We can’t have everybody staying home, and we need to have the ability for young children to be cared for while the parents are working.”
Currently, Nova Scotia is the only Maritime province without a case of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Russell is advising people to postpone or cancel non-essential travel outside the country –especially those who are older or have underlying medical conditions. She also notes social distancing is crucial in helping to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.