Further expansion of COVID-19 testing protocols; travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Testing protocols in New Brunswick for COVID-19 are being expanded to capture a wider range of symptoms for the disease.
The announcement comes on the 10th consecutive day in which no new cases of the virus have been reported. The number of confirmed cases stands at 118, the number of active cases is four and 114 people have recovered. One person remains hospitalized and there are no patients in an intensive care unit.
The latest updates and information on confirmed COVID-19 cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick are available online.
Testing protocols expanded
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, announced that new symptoms are being added to the list that determines when a COVID-19 test is administered.
“If you or anyone in your family is experiencing any two of the symptoms, please call 811 and follow their directions,” said Russell. “You may be referred for testing and will be asked to self-isolate until your test results are known. People with positive results will be contacted by Public Health, which will monitor the person’s condition through follow-up calls.”
The new symptoms are:
- a new onset of fatigue;
- a new onset of muscle pain;
- loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
- in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes.
These symptoms are in addition to:
- fever above 38°C;
- a new cough or worsening chronic cough;
- sore throat;
- runny nose; and
Russell noted that in the case of children with purple markings on their fingers or toes, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.
“It is crucial that we do more testing at this stage, and with a broader range of symptoms,” said Russell. “This list of symptoms covers our current knowledge of the signs of COVID-19. As we continually learn more about the virus, and as symptoms are confirmed, they will be added to our testing protocols.”
Priority in processing tests will continue to be given to those most vulnerable to the disease, including patients in hospitals and residents of nursing homes and special care homes.
Priority will also be given to those working in the health-care sector, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and staff in health-care institutions.
Temporary foreign workers restricted from entering province
The provincial government has updated its mandatory order under the state of emergency to restrict temporary foreign workers from entering New Brunswick.
Premier Blaine Higgs said with so many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions, the province’s borders must remain closed for now.
“Under normal circumstances, we welcome foreign temporary workers as they play an important role in New Brunswick’s continued economic growth,” said Higgs. “But right now, the risk of allowing more people to enter the province is simply too great.”
This restriction does not affect the status of temporary foreign workers currently in the province.
The latest version of the State of Emergency mandatory order is available online.
Rules for post-secondary education students who are moving
With the conclusion of the academic year for students attending universities and community colleges, the following rules are in place for students and anyone helping them to move their belongings in and out of the province:
- People may enter New Brunswick for a period of not more than 24 hours to remove belongings from a students’ residence. They are expected to isolate themselves as best as possible while in the province.
- Staying longer than 24 hours is considered remaining in the province and the 14-day self- isolation period would apply. Before traveling to New Brunswick, people should check with their home province to see if further restrictions may be applied upon their returning home.
- Anyone leaving New Brunswick for any length of time to remove belongings from a residence in another province is ordered, upon their return, to self-isolate for 14 days and follow the directions of public health officials.
Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.