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The Department of Health confirms the majority of active COVID cases in the province are actually the U-K variant. In an email response to questions from newsysj.ca about the presence of the variant – spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane says of the 146 active cases in the province yesterday – “120 are confirmed as the U-K variant of the virus.”

In Zone 4 – the Edmundston region which has been battling a significant outbreak since last month – Macfarlane says “there are 112 confirmed cases of COVID, the majority of which are the U-K variant. We can’t confirm at this time, how many are the UK variant but in total the region has had 92 cases of UK variant since its presence was first identified in the province in February of this year.”

The Edmundston region has been under the RED Level with heightened restrictions since late last month. The Edmundston Hospital and its intensive care unit has been working to capacity forcing the Vitalite Health Network to restrict admissions. Two patients with COVID requiring intensive care have been transferred to the Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton since the restrictions were imposed earlier this week. Two people in the region have died this week as the result of COVID including a man in his thirties – the youngest COVID death since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago.

Chief Medical Officer of Health – Dr Jennifer Russell – has said she expected the highly contagious variants to become the dominant strains of the virus in the province.