Chief Medical Officer of Health – Dr Jennifer Russell – says the weeks and months ahead could be very challenging with confirmation the U-K variant of the COVID virus is in the province. Russell announced yesterday three people – two here in the Saint John region and one in the Miramichi region -have been confirmed as having the U-K variant. Two of the cases are related to international travel while the other is related to travel within Canada.
Russell is concerned because she says the variants are highly contagious and affect a broader range of people quickly – “it only takes one case” and we have a significant outbreak to deal with. She says that’s why travel restrictions were tightened last week along with all regions remaining at the Orange Level of recovery and will remain so for some time. The only exceptions are the Edmundston region currently in a LOCKDOWN and the Moncton region at the RED Level as those areas deal with significant outbreaks of COVID-19.
Russell also says don’t look for a return to the Yellow Level any time soon. She says we need to protect the rollout of vaccinations to all vulnerable people in Long Term Care facilities and get them fully vaccinated – the risk of major outbreaks with the COVID variants is far too high to consider any easing of restrictions before priority groups are vaccinated.