New Brunswick health officials held a rare weekend COVID-19 update as they announced a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the province in a single day.
The province reported 23 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.
Sixteen of the new cases are located in the Saint John area, six are located in the Moncton area and one is located in the Fredericton area.
There are now 71 active cases in the province as of Saturday.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, spent the meeting calling for the province to make a “renewed commitment” to beating back COVID-19.
“We can’t go on as if our case numbers are low,” said Russell.
The province says it has been able to trace all recent cases to a source and that they do not think there is community transmission in the province at this time.
Saturday was third-straight day that the province has provided an update on the status of the virus, a sign of how serious they consider the state of the virus in New Brunswick.
Russell stressed that the number of new cases is not unique to New Brunswick and is similar to the second wave being experienced across Canada and the world.
The 23 cases could be the result of actions taken 14 days ago and that’s why Russell said the actions New Brunswickers take now can change what happens next.
“This is not the time for friends and families to gather,” the province’s top doctor said.
Russel said officials completed 421 COVID-19 tests at the Shannex facility in Saint John as a result of the outbreak she declared at the facility’s Tucker Hall building on Friday.
Three of the new cases reported on Saturday are a result of the tests conducted at Shannex, officials said.
That means there are now four active cases at Tucker Hall. One employee has tested positive and three residents have also tested poistive, according to a statement on Shannex’s website.
Russell said on Friday that “superspreaders” were the source of the increasing case numbers in Saint John.
Higgs ‘not afraid’ to shut down businesses
Premier Blaine Higgs and health minister Dorothy Shephard joined Russell at the weekend update, on Saturday.
Higgs said he was “not afraid” to shut down businesses if they are found to be breaking COVID-19 regulations.
He said that police organizations are going to be stepping up enforcement while businesses will be checked-in on.
The premier warned that the entire province could be shifted to the orange zone if necessary.
There are 71 active cases of the virus in the province and as of Saturday there is one person in the hospital but no one is in intensive care at this time.
There have been six deaths connected to the coronavirus.
New Brunswick has completed 115,234 COVID-19 tests.
There have been 424 cases in the province since the pandemic began, 347 of which are considered to be resolved at this time.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.