New Brunswick reports first COVID-19 death after 80-year-old resident dies in long-term care home

New Brunswick reports first COVID-19 death after 80-year-old resident dies in long-term care home
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New Brunswick’s first death from COVID-19 was announced Thursday morning after an outbreak that began with a doctor returning to work without self-isolating after travel.

The family of Daniel Ouellette, who was a resident at the Manoir de la Vallée care home in Atholville, N.B., announced his death on social media . He was 85.

“In these difficult times it is with a very very heavy heart that I announce the passing of our father Daniel (Ti-Dan) Ouellette. He lost his fight against the COVID-19 virus this morning at 5:10 am. He will be missed greatly by all of us,” Michel Ouellette said.

The deadly virus was found at the Manoir de la Vallée home after a staff member tested positive. The health worker had, in turn, been in contact with a doctor at the local hospital who tested positive.

The doctor had traveled to Quebec, did not isolate afterwards and returned to work.

The doctor worked at the Campbellton Regional Hospital, a 163-bed facility in Campbellton. The area in northern New Brunswick borders Quebec across the Restigouche River.

The hospital’s emergency department has since shut down and ambulances diverted to a facility an hour away as staff quarantine and are tested.

In response to the outbreak, the region is the only part of the province where re-opening protocols are halted and restrictions reverted back to the more severe level of orange alert on the province’s recovery scale.

Fifteen active COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the Campbellton area.

On Wednesday, the province announced two new cases, both of them in the Campbellton region.

One of the new cases is linked to the same care home and the other to a close contact of a previously identified case. A third case, connected to the Campbellton outbreak, was identified in a Quebec resident who is also linked to Manoir de la Vallée, but this case will be counted in Quebec’s tally of the pandemic’s toll.

He said it was “perhaps an error in judgment.”

The doctor, Jean Robert Ngola, spoke out because he has been subjected to racist abuse and angry mobbing on social media. The New Brunswick Medical Society understands the public’s anger but said racist commentary cannot be tolerated.

Wednesday’s provincial COVID-19 caseload, the most recent available from the province, was 135 cases; 120 have recovered.

All 15 of the active cases are in Campbellton region, designated as Zone 5 in the provincial response plan. Five patients were hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit. An update is expected Thursday afternoon.

Health officials did not respond to requests for comment and information Thursday morning.

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