New Brunswick officials announced 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a single-day high since the start of the pandemic.
The cases include 24 in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, or Zone 4, which will roll back to the more restrictive red phase effective at midnight. There are now 292 active cases in the province and one person is in the hospital.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer, said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions could move to red within days if the situation doesn't improve.
"We're at the maximum of what we can deal with in the short term," she said at a media briefing on Sunday.
Russell said 11 cases in the Edmundston region are linked to an outbreak at Nadeau Poultry in Saint-François de Madawaska, where mass testing was conducted.
The community is near the Maine border, about 42 kilometres west of Edmundston.
Some businesses must close under red restrictions, including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons. Restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery.
The new cases include:
Moncton region, five cases:
two individuals 19 and under.
an individual 20-29.
an individual 40-49.
an individual 70-79.
Saint John region, four cases:
an individual 19 and under.
an individual 20-29.
two people 40-49.
Fredericton region, two cases:
two people 20-29.
Edmundston region, 24 cases:
three people 19 and under.
three people 30-39.
four people 40-49.
10 people 50-59.
four people 60-69.
Bathurst region, one case:
an individual 20-29.
Russell said 2,101 people are self-isolating across the province.
Schools to remain open
Education Minister Dominic Cardy said evidence has shown the safest place for students to be is school.
"We're working to keep students in school as much as possible to help support our public health goals," he said.
"When students are at school, they are in a supervised environment with strict health and safety protocols in place."
Changes are being made to the red-phase rules to allow for schools to remain open.
Students and staff will be actively screened each day and those with one symptom will be asked to stay home. Extracurricular activities will also be reduced.
If a case is confirmed at a red-level school, it will close for three days. This will allow time for contact tracing and turning the building into a testing site.
It has been almost two weeks since all regions of the province were moved back to the orange recovery phase.
Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton regions are "on the cusp" of a return to red.
"We need to take this seriously because the next step, after the red phase, is a total lockdown," he said.
Russell urged New Brunswickers to stay home as much as possible.
"If you have to go out to obtain food and other essentials, keep your outings brief and return home as soon as you can," she said.
4 schools report cases of COVID-19
Four more New Brunswick schools have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield and Millidgeville North School in Saint John each have one case, according to Anglophone South superintendent Zoë Watson.
The schools will be open and operational Monday except for students and staff reached by contact tracers. Both communities were notified in an email on Saturday.
In the Moncton region, Riverview East School also confirmed one case. Families will be contacted about any impacts to learning this week.
Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough has notified the community about one case. All students and staff have been asked to staff home on Sunday while contact tracing is underway.
New Brunswick has confirmed 947 total cases and 642 recoveries.
The province has recorded 12 deaths. The death of a 13th person with COVID-19 was not related to the disease.
Public Health has conducted a total of 172,708 tests since the start of the pandemic, including 1,723 since Saturday's update.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
A fever above 38 C.
A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.