New Brunswick reports 13 new cases of COVID-19 in locked-down Edmundston area

·2 min read
New Brunswick reports 13 new cases of COVID-19 in locked-down Edmundston area

FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 in the Edmundston area Friday, which is under a four-day lockdown following a sudden, sharp rise in cases.

Edmundston deputy mayor Eric Marquis says residents are frustrated with the continued spread of the novel coronavirus in the region, and he's encouraging everyone to get tested. "They are frustrated and we feel a lot of anxiety also," he said in an interview Friday. "We've got to be patient and we've got to ride it out."

Marquis said he and his family were among about 1,500 people who turned out for a mass testing clinic Thursday. That testing continued Friday.

Earlier in the day, Premier Blaine Higgs said there is evidence some people who gathered in the region didn't follow public health rules, adding that the province may have to change the focus of vaccinations in the area.

"We are looking at strategies around vaccine delivery," Higgs told reporters at the provincial legislature. He said the vaccine strategy in the region will be discussed next week by the all-party COVID-19 cabinet committee.

"It is a topic for the next meeting after this weekend and we have the testing all done," Higgs said. "Where do we see the issues? How many cases do we have? How does it compare to other regions in the province?"

Health officials imposed "circuit-breaker" restrictions in Edmundston and the upper Madawaska region, which border Quebec and Maine, on Thursday, after they reported 30 infections across the province, including 24 in the Edmundston area.

Marquis said it's too soon to know if Maine and Quebec are the source of the rise in COVID-19 cases in the province.

"We are aware that having the state of Maine right next to us and the border of Quebec can represent some issues, but like I mentioned, as of now we don't have the information if the infections come from those areas," he said.

Marquis said he's aware there was a public exposure at a hockey game last weekend, but notes the organizers were following provincial health guidelines and there were fewer than the allowable number of participants.

New Brunswick has 99 active reported cases and four patients in hospital with the disease. The province has reported a total of 1,559 COVID-19 infections and 30 deaths linked to the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press