New Brunswick and Nova Scotia report double-digit jumps in COVID-19 cases

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FREDERICTON — Two Atlantic provinces reported double-digit increases in COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

After more than a month of single-digit case numbers, health authorities in New Brunswick reported ten new cases on Saturday, while Nova Scotia logged 13.

New Brunswick's infections are in the Fredericton region, and all patients are self-isolating, according to a news release sent Saturday by the province's Department of Health.

"We are concerned to see such a high spike in cases in one day, but we suspect a number of these cases are connected," chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said in the release. "We are currently undergoing rigorous contact tracing to confirm."

Officials are assessing the situation to see if further action is needed to control the spread, Russell said.

Half the new cases affect young people, with three patients under 19 and two in their 20s. The remaining five cases affect one person each in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. New Brunswick has 34 active infections with one person in intensive care.

Across the Bay of Fundy, health authorities in Nova Scotia reported 13 new COVID-19 infections. In a release, officials said 11 infections were confirmed on New Year's Day and two were confirmed on Saturday.

"The first few days of 2021 show that we can't let our guard down when it comes to COVID-19," Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said in the release.

All but one of the 13 infections have been traced to previously known cases or travel outside Atlantic Canada, the release said. The source of the remaining infection is under investigation.

As of Saturday, authorities confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 connected to a private school in Dartmouth, near Halifax. Plans are now underway for for all staff and students to be tested, the release said.

Newfoundland and Labrador marked its third day in a row with no new cases of COVID-19 as officials confirmed the first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, on Thursday.

Premier Andrew Furey previously said the province's first shipments of the Moderna vaccine — which doesn't require the same frosty -70 C storage temperature as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — would be earmarked for Labrador's remote Indigenous communities.

Newfoundland and Labrador has 11 active cases of COVID-19 with one person in hospital.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press