Eight new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in the province on Friday, including four in Zone 4, the Edmundston region, where a grocery store worker tested positive.
Loblaw confirmed Friday that an employee at the chain's Atlantic Superstore store in Edmundston has tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee's last day of work was Nov. 26.
Loblaw said team members who worked closely with this individual are at home in self-isolation, monitoring for any symptoms.
The store is working with New Brunswick Public Health to ensure the safety of its customers, including following cleaning and disinfection measures in the store and notifying anyone who may have been in contact with the employee, Loblaw said.
The Edmundston region has had 13 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with five of those reported this week.
The four new cases reported Friday in the Edmundston region include three people 19 years old or younger and an adult in their 40s.
Zone 2, the Saint John region, recorded two more cases, one person in their 50s and another in their 60s.
Zones 1 and 3, the Moncton and Fredericton regions, respectively, each reported a single new case. The Moncton case is someone in their 30s, and the Fredericton case is someone in their 60s.
The total number of New Brunswick COVID-19 cases so far is now 528. There have been eight recoveries since Thursday, so the active case count stands at 111.
There were 1,686 tests done since this time Thursday, bringing the total number of tests to 131,656. Seven people have died, and no one is in hospital.
Public Health did not hold a news conference Friday.
Researchers say province's north at risk
Researchers at the University of New Brunswick say people living in the northern part of the province are more vulnerable to negative outcomes from COVID-19.
The researchers's examined COVID-19 risk indicators that could help with community planning and recovery efforts, said Sandra Magalhaes, lead researcher at the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training at UNB.
"The goal really was to increase awareness of our research to be able to engage with different groups to identity what are their priorities," said Magalhaes said.
The researchers made three findings:
Nearly one in every five adults in northern New Brunswick has two or more relevant health conditions that increase the risk of negative outcomes connected to COVID-19.
In Northern New Brunswick, there is a greater proportion of people who have been hospitalized because of a mental health condition in the last 10 years.
People over 65 are living alone in 20 to 22 per cent of houses, compared with about 15 per cent in the urban cores of Fredericton and Moncton.
Magalhaes said that for seniors, living alone during the pandemic can lead to feelings of social isolation and a difficulty accessing essential services as physical distancing rules continue.
In southern New Brunswick, such isolation was less common, although Minto, about 50 kilometres northeast of Fredericton, also has a large proportion of seniors living alone.
The researchers also looked at people with existing health problems, including mental health issues.
"In bracing for future months, we aim to understand which groups may be more vulnerable to negative physical consequences of COVID-19 and may thus require additional resources and support in these challenging times."
Magalhaes said more information should help government better allocate money to areas where the help is needed most. It will also help the two regional health authorities and community organizations plan.
The second part of this report is expected to be published in early 2021.
Mask exemption protocols unclear to people with disabilities
The chair of the Premier's Council on Disabilities says he's trying to clarify the protocols for people who have medical exemptions from mandatory mask rules.
Randy Dickinson was responding Friday to concerns expressed by a Moncton mother, who has been refused entry to her local grocery store when with her 16-year-old son Jayden Moore, who has been exempted from wearing a mask.
Earlier this week, Christine Roberts said Jayden got a doctor's note for an exemption because he's been diagnosed as moderate to high-functioning on the autism spectrum, with sensory processing disorder and high anxiety.
Dickinson said he's had difficulty getting clear information about the mask exemption on behalf of people with disabilities and their caregivers.
"There's no clear protocol that I can find to let people know how they go about confirming that they qualify for the so-called exemption and more importantly, when people are out and about in the community," he said.
"Should there be some kind of ID card or something that they could carry in their wallet?"
Dickinson said he plans to pursue the issue further with New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.
He's also calling on neighbours and family members to do what they can to support people with disabilities during the pandemic, such as by offering to deliver groceries or providing respite care.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, says officials will be doing a risk assessment on Sunday for the Fredericton and Moncton regions to determine if they can be moved ahead to the less restrictive yellow phase, where four health zones are already.
She wasn't clear whether an announcement would be made Sunday.
Potential public exposure warnings for Saint John, Moncton
Public Health has warned of the following possible exposures to the virus in the Saint John and Moncton areas, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.
Saint John area
Churchill's Pub on Nov. 20, at 8 Grannan St., between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., Saint John.
Picaroons on Nov. 21, at 30 Canterbury St., between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saint John.
Thandi's Restaurant on Nov. 21 between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. 33 Canterbury St., Saint John
Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., 47 Clark Rd., Rothesay
GoodLife Fitness on Nov. 21 at 555 Dieppe Blvd, Dieppe, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Flights into Moncton:
Air Canada Flight 8372 onNov. 28 from Fort McMurray to Calgary, departed 6:10 a.m
Air Canada Flight 144 onNov. 28 from Calgary to Toronto, departed at 11:15 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 8918 onNov. 28 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:30 p.m.
Air Canada Flight 178 on Nov. 19 from Edmonton to Toronto, arrived at 5:58 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 404 on Nov. 19 from Toronto to Montreal, arrived at 10:16 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 8902 on Nov. 19 from Montreal to Moncton, arrived at 4:17 p.m.
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.