New Brunswick has four new cases of COVID-19, all temporary foreign workers in their 30s, Public Health announced Wednesday.

The workers are from Mexico, Premier Blaine Higgs told reporters during a media briefing.

They arrived in Moncton and immediately began self-isolating for 14 days, prior to starting their jobs in Miramichi.

On Day 10, they were tested for COVID-19 and the tests came back positive.

“Although it’s concerning, you know, I expressed those concerns early on … which brought us to really ensure that we had a process in place for temporary foreign workers, and that system’s working,” said Higgs.

“The system caught these workers before they went out [into the general public or to another region], the contract tracing is being done, it’s been able to contain [the coronavirus] to this group and we feel confident that that’s as far as it will go.”

Up until Wednesday, no new cases of the respiratory disease had been reported in New Brunswick for 15 days.

Diagnosis during the period of self-isolation is the goal, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

That way, the risk of transmission is “the lowest it can possibly be, limiting the number of cases,” she said.

The workers must continue to self-isolate until they are cleared by Public Health.

Because they were destined for the Miramichi region, Public Health records them as being cases in that region, health Zone 7.

An out-of-province individual who tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday, two days after flying from Moncton to Montreal on Air Canada Flight AC-8903, was in New Brunswick for work, according to Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane.

“It is our understanding the individual’s work-related plans were approved and protective measures were put in place,” he said in an emailed statement.

New Brunswick had two days with no active cases before the four new cases were reported. (The Canadian Press/NIAID-RML via AP)

The individual was asymptomatic and wore a mask during the entire flight, the government had said in a tweet late last Friday.

The individual arrived from Montreal on July 26 and spent one day in Moncton.

This case of COVID-19 is not counted as a case in New Brunswick. 

No other information has been released.

The province has recorded 174 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. Two people have died and 168 have recovered.

On Tuesday, 298 tests were done for COVID-19. As of Wednesday, a total of 53,699 tests have been conducted since the pandemic started, according to the government’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Free masks

The City of Saint John is providing free disposable masks to anyone who needs one “in order to support the advice of the chief medical officer related to mask use indoors,” it announced in a news release on Wednesday.

Masks will be available at various city and community locations, effective immediately. But they won’t be available on Saint John Transit buses.

“We are unable to provide masks on buses at this time. The daily number of buses and routes would deplete our supply,” the statement said.

Anyone who uses the bus and would like a disposable mask, is asked to visit one of the locations where masks are being offered.

These include the city’s municipal operations building at 175 Rothesay Ave., the City Hall cashier’s office at 15 Market Square, and the parks and recreation department at 171 Adelaide St.

Other locations include:

North

The Crescent Valley Resource Centre at 130 MacLaren Blvd. The ONE Change Inc. (Nick Nicolle Centre), at 85 Durham St.

South central Peninsula

Romero House at 647-649 Brunswick Dr. The Saint John Newcomers Centre, at 165 Union St. 4th Floor. The Seniors’ Resource Centre, at 39 King St., Brunswick Square, Level 3. P.U.L.S.E. Inc., at 251 Wentworth St.

West

The Carleton Community Centre, at 120 Market Place. What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test on the government website at gnb.ca. 

Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: a fever above 38 C, a new cough or worsening chronic cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, new onset of fatigue, new onset of muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms are asked to:



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