UNB Saint John reports possible COVID-19 exposure to community members

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The University of New Brunswick's Saint John campus says members of its community may have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Officials sent an email to students and staff around noon on Saturday.

The university says Public Health has verified the individuals are in self-isolation and are being monitored. It did not specify if the people exposed are students or employees.

"The health and safety of our community is our top priority," the memo states. "New Brunswick Public Health has absolute authority in this matter."

No changes to course delivery or campus operations are expected.

Patrick Hickey, president of the UNB Saint John Students' Representative Council, confirmed the email and said mask use and physical distancing are well-enforced on campus.

"The risk is minimalized, but the risk is still there," he said.

The exposure comes as the region experiences a surge in new cases of COVID-19, including 16 new cases on Sunday. Many businesses in Saint John are reporting potential exposure and positive cases, including bars, restaurants and gyms.

UNB Saint John is holding a mix of in-person and online courses. But students have the option of watching lectures live from home if they are uncomfortable attending during the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Hickey said students are encouraged to take advantage of that option and contact their professors if needed.

"We have been hearing some concerns about in-person courses continuing," he said.

The student union cancelled all in-person events when the Saint John region returned to the orange phase.

There has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 at Mount Allison University and two at Université de Moncton since students returned for the fall semester.