New Brunswick reported its first fatality, involving an individual in their 80s with underlying health conditions, who lived at the Manor de la Vallée long-term care facility.
Various news organizations have identified him as Daniel Ouellette, after a social media post by his family. He is part of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton region, which has infected 16 people. One new case was announced Thursday, involving an employee in their 20s at the LTC in Atholville, N.B.
New Brunswick previously had no active cases after all of its patients had recovered by May 16. But since May 21, they’ve discovered 16 new cases in the Campbellton region. Nine are linked to a long-term care facility (five residents and four staff), which includes a Quebec employee whose case is reflected in that province’s statistics.
They’re all part of a cluster that officials believe was started by a family doctor, who exposed at least 150 people to the virus in the health-care and community setting. Instead of following a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period following his trip to Quebec in May to pick up his daughter, the doctor returned to work and saw patients during a two-week stretch at Campbellton Regional Hospital in the Restigouche area.
On May 28, a health-care worker at Manor de la Vallée was diagnosed with COVID-19, prompting all staff and residents to get tested. She was in contact with the family doctor on May 20, said Guy Tremblay, the president of Groupe Lokia, which owns the special care home for seniors.
Officials were able to link all of the initial patients after identifying the family doctor, whose case was announced on May 27. Premier Blaine Higgs called him an “irresponsible individual,” who was “not forthcoming” about the reasons for his trip upon returning to New Brunswick. The doctor has since been suspended as RCMP and Vitalité Health Network (a New Brunswick health authority) investigate to potentially lay charges.
In an interview with Radio-Canada’s La Matinale, the doctor said he’s not sure how he contracted the virus, saying he might have caught the virus from a patient on May 19. Throughout this overnight trip to Quebec, he said he made no stops to come into contact with anyone, while none of his family members were showing COVID-19 symptoms. He and his daughter have both since tested positive, after discovering that one of his patients had contracted the virus.
In New Brunswick, there are now four people in hospital, which includes one person in intensive care. About 300 close contacts of cases are currently in self-isolation.