NB Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Jennifer Russell
(File Image)

The COVID “variants of concern” are quickly becoming the enemy in the ongoing battle against the virus. Chief Medical Officer of Health – Dr Jennifer Russell – says the U-K variant is the dominant strain which is at the centre of a significant outbreak in the Edmundston region. She says the South African strain has also been identified – but – so far no cases of the Brazilian virus have been detected. All three strains are highly contagious.

Russell says 184 cases of “variants of concern” have been identified in the province to date – 180 of the U-K variant and 4 of the South African variant. She says the U-K variant has been identified in all areas of the province except the Campbellton region while there are 2 cases of the South African variant here in the Saint John region and 2 cases in the Fredericton River Valley region. Russell says of the 180 cases of the U-K variant – 135 have recovered while 45 remain active – and – all 4 cases of the South African variant remain active. She says 63% of the cases in the Edmundston region between March 01st and yesterday have been confirmed as the U-K variant.

NB Health Minister Dorothy Shephard (File Image)

Meantime – Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says additional doses of vaccine have been sent to the Edmundston region as health officials try to get the COVID outbreak in that area under control. The City of Edmundston and Upper Madawaska area remain under LOCKDOWN as a result of the outbreak.

Shephard says 35% of the population in the region has received at least one dose of COVID vaccine to date. On a provincial level – as of yesterday – 25% of the population has received at least one dose of one of the 3 COVID vaccines available. Both Shephard and Russell say all New Brunswickers wanting the vaccination will have received at least one dose by the end of June.