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Case involving COVID-19 variant that emerged in India confirmed in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick on Monday reported a COVID-19 case involving a variant first identified in India.

Health officials said the case in the Fredericton region involves a previously reported infection.

“With the arrival of this more aggressive variant, now more than ever, New Brunswickers must be vigilant and follow all public health measures to reduce the spread and protect our health-care system,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

Officials reported seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province Monday: three cases in the Saint John region, two in the Fredericton area and two in the Edmundston region.  

An outbreak has been declared at Magee House, a residence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, which is connected to at least six cases. The Fredericton campus has been reduced to essential services for 72 hours.

The school announced that students living in the residences are not permitted to leave campus for any reason, including retuning home.   

Health officials said they were working with St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick Community College because they are located close to UNB.

St. Thomas president Dawn Russell issued a statement saying that as of 1 p.m. Monday, the university was moving to an essential services model with campus closed and buildings locked. 

There are 122 active reported cases in New Brunswick and seven patients are in hospital with the disease, including three in intensive care.   

Seventy of the active cases are in the Edmundston area, in the northwest of the province, where part of the region remains under lockdown. 

The Vitalite Health Network reported that as of Monday afternoon, the Edmundston Regional Hospital had seven COVID-19 patients and two of them were in intensive care on respirators.   

New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,858 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 35 deaths linked to the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press