There are now nine active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick’s Campbellton region, after a health-care professional defied social distancing rules following a personal trip to Quebec.
The most recent case was announced on Saturday, but health officials didn’t hold a press conference to clarify the reason for transmission. Instead in a public statement they wrote that the individual, who is their 70s, is “still under investigation.”
New Brunswick previously had no active cases, since all of its then 120 patients had recovered by May 16. But over the past 10 days, they’ve discovered nine new cases. The first eight have been linked to one cluster, which officials believe was started by a health-care professional who defied social-distancing rules after returning to New Brunswick’s Campbellton region.
Instead of following a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period following his Quebec trip earlier this month, the doctor continued to see patients during a two-week stretch at Campbellton Regional Hospital in the Restigouche area. He has since been suspended, as Vitalité Health Network and RCMP investigate for potential charges.
Officials with Vitalité (one of two health authorities in New Brunswick) are worried that the doctor exposed at least 150 people to COVID-19, which includes health-care workers and those in the community.
“We know based on our contact tracing that people living outside that region are in the circle of transmission,” said the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell on Friday. “Please limit your close contact with others. … It could easily spread to other regions.”
On Saturday, officials announced that there are now three cases in hospital, but none of them are in intensive care. A day earlier, the province had two cases in ICU.