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New Brunswick doctor says he does not know where he picked up COVID-19 – OHS Canada

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FREDERICTON — A New Brunswick doctor blamed by many, including the premier, for spreading COVID-19 in a growing cluster of new cases told Radio-Canada on Tuesday that he’s not sure how he picked up the virus.

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola said he recently travelled from Campbellton, N.B., to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter because the girl’s mother had to attend a funeral in Africa.

Ngola admitted that upon his return from the overnight trip, he did not self-isolate for 14 days, but added he does not know if he caught the coronavirus on his travels or from a patient.

“Perhaps it was an error in judgment, but I did not go to Quebec to go to take the virus and come to give it to my patients,” Ngola told morning show La Matinale.

There are 13 active COVID-19 cases in the province that had just weeks ago seen all of its coronavirus cases recovered.

On Tuesday, the Public Health Department reported another COVID-19 case in an outbreak at Manoir de la Vallee, a care home in Altholville in the northern part of the province.

All of New Brunswick’s active cases are in the health region known as Zone 5, and all have been linked to a cluster in the Campbellton area.

Officials, including Premier Blaine Higgs, have said the cluster began when a health-care worker travelled to Quebec and returned to work at Campbellton Regional Hospital without self-isolating.

But Ngola told La Matinale that his COVID-19 diagnosis threw him, and he’s not sure how he was exposed. His daughter tested positive as well and both have been in quarantine since, but neither have had any symptoms.

Doctor has faced racist attacks

The doctor, who is of Congolese descent, said he has been the victim of racist attacks online since public attention was directed to his case. His name and photo were shared on social media with racist comments describing him as “the bad doctor who went to get the virus to kill people here.”

Ngola told the radio program he took precautions when travelling and did not stop en route.

He continued working upon his return to Campbellton and left his daughter in the care of an essential service workers’ daycare centre.

On May 25, he was told that one of his patients had tested positive for COVID-19. He called the man, whom he’d seen May 19 for a prescription renewal, and stopped working right away.

Ngola said as a patient, he also has the right to confidentiality.

The Campbellton COVID-19 cluster has led to increased testing in the region, where the Vitalite health authority offered tests to anyone who asked from Friday through Sunday.

More than 3,300 were completed over the weekend and Zone 5 has moved back a step in the province’s reopening plan.

A Tuesday news release from the province’s Public Health Department said the newest positive case is a person their 80s linked to Manoir de la Vallee, where a worker tested positive last week.

Five residents have now tested positive for the virus and the regional director for Lokia Group, the company that owns the home, said Monday that two had been hospitalized.

The province said Tuesday that five people are in the hospital due to COVID-19, including one person in intensive care.

Chief doctor pleads for patience

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement that New Brunswickers should be patient as the province monitors the outbreak.

“We have 14 days ahead of us to see how things unfold,” Russell’s statement read. “In the meantime, I ask New Brunswickers to continue to demonstrate their compassion, kindness and patience throughout the province.”

At a news conference last week, Premier Blaine Higgs did not refer to Dr. Ngola by name, but criticized him as “irresponsible” and said the matter had been referred to the RCMP, potentially leading to charges for violating public health orders.

Days later, Higgs walked back his remarks slightly and appeared to acknowledge the outrage, telling people to leave investigation into any wrongdoing up to law enforcement and the person’s employer.

“I know people are upset, but we don’t want anyone taking matters into their own hands,” he said.

Campbellton Mayor Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin told The Canadian Press on Saturday that she was embarrassed by many of the comments on social media directed at the doctor, which she described as “pretty hateful and nasty.”

By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L., with files from Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal

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Health officials report new COVID-19 case in New Brunswick related to travel – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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FREDERICTON—Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

The new case involves a person in their 40s in the Fredericton area.

They say it is a travel-related case, and the individual is self-isolating.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 166, and 163 have recovered.

There have been two deaths, and there is one active case.

Russell says people are reminded to maintain physical distancing and public health guidelines for good hygiene.

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WHO says airborne transmission of coronavirus can occur during medical procedures – Financial Post

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus can occur during medical procedures that generate aerosols.

The agency said some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, such as during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes. (https://bit.ly/2Ck7QBo)

The WHO on Tuesday acknowledged “emerging evidence” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease spread. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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Nova Scotia reports zero new cases of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says he never should have approved a plan to allow three executives from Irving Shipbuilding to travel to America to meet with contractors and then return to work without having to self-isolate for 14 days.

The executives had approval from Dr. Robert Strang’s office ahead of taking the trip. It included strict criteria they had to follow upon their return, including being tested for COVID-19 immediately. But when workers at the Halifax shipyard learned of the exception and complained to Strang’s office, he revisited the situation.

On Wednesday, he ordered the three executives home to self-isolate for 14 days and said the company could no longer engage in business travel to America. An Irving spokesperson said Wednesday that the executives complied with all rules attached to the exception.

During a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Strang said his review didn’t include whether any of the executives from Irving violated the guidelines established as part of their exception. But he said upon reviewing the plan a second time, it was clear he shouldn’t have signed off on it in the first place.

“Even though safety requirements were part of my approval, the meetings could have been done virtually,” Strang said. “Upon return, the individuals can isolate at home and still manage to work.”

Exceptions will continue to be granted

Strang couldn’t say how many exceptions his office has granted, but said he’s approved plans for workers to come into the province to do work that requires specialized skills and will continue to do so as deemed appropriate. Each request is judged on its own merits and Strang said his office has turned down a number of requests.

“I’ve even turned around a planeload of workers who were in the air, about to land in Nova Scotia because I couldn’t approve the plan because it didn’t provide the right level of COVID safety,” he said.

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In evaluating requests for exceptions, Strang said the lens he views things through is “appropriate protection for [the public’s] health and safety. He would only review plans if people raise issues about them. Although it’s not his job to inform employees when a a workplace receives an exception, Strang said employers should.

“The expectation would be that the company [receiving the exception] would have the appropriate communications so people are aware and they can understand what protocols are being put in place to keep them safe on the worksite,” he said.

His office reviews many plans and requests and Strang said the response won’t always be perfect.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the meeting the Irving executives travelled to in person could have been done virtually. (CBC)

“I’m not going to get everything I do, of the hundreds of decisions I make every week on this, I will acknowledge that I may not get everything exactly right,” Strang said.

“But I’m always happy to go back and learn from my mistakes and certainly be looking more intensely about how we make sure that we focus only on essential travel into the province where there is no other alternative.”

4 active cases

Nova Scotia reported zero new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with four active cases remaining in the province.

The microbiology lab at the QEII Health Sciences Centre completed 398 tests on Wednesday and continues to operate 24 hours a day.

To date, Nova Scotia has had 56,227 negative test results, 1,066 positive cases and 63 deaths caused by the coronavirus. One person who previously tested positive for COVID-19 is still in hospital, but the case is now considered resolved.

Proper health and safety protocols

Strang encouraged people to continue washing their hands frequently, keeping surfaces clean and practising proper cough etiquette by coughing into their sleeve or elbow.

He continues to strongly recommend people wear masks when they are in public places where physical distancing isn’t possible and had meetings planned with his federal counterparts Thursday to discuss mask protocol. People should bring a mask with them whenever they leave home, the way they take their keys or wallet, said Strang.

Strang is encouraging people to wear non-medical grade masks in certain settings. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press )

Premier Stephen McNeil said he’s now wearing a mask when he’s indoors in a confined space or someone’s place of work.

“I’ve been out to dinner a couple of times this week [and] I wore a mask into that environment,” he said.

Symptoms list

People with one or more of the following COVID-19 symptoms are asked to visit 811’s website:

  • Fever (chills, sweats).
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Sneezing.
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose.
  • Hoarse voice.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste.
  • Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.
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