FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and three additional deaths linked to the virus.
Two of those who died were in their 40s, and the third victim was in their 80s; all three lived in the Campbellton area of northern New Brunswick.
The province's death toll linked to the pandemic reached 90 on Sunday, prompting Premier Blaine Higgs to offer his condolences to the grieving families.
Meanwhile, health officials confirmed there were 57 people recovering in hospital, with 18 in an intensive care unit.
All those receiving intensive care were unvaccinated.
The province issued a statement Sunday reminding residents that as of Monday, free rapid-test kits will be made available at 20 locations across the province.
Health officials confirmed they had recently doubled the number of kits at each pick-up location.
On Saturday, health officials were forced to cut short the distribution of kits at three locations because supplies ran out.
The kits were handed out in Moncton, Perth Andover and Grand Falls — areas that have been subjected to strict health-protection measures since Oct. 8 because of a surge in infections and hospitalizations.
The distribution program was supposed to take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but it was suspended by 11:30 a.m. in Moncton and by 1 p.m. in Perth Andover and Grand Falls.
The kits were made available to those without COVID-19 symptoms living in the so-called circuit-breaker zones, which include COVID-19 hot spots in the upper Saint John River Valley, Edmundston in western New Brunswick, and the Moncton area in the province's southeastern region.
By 9 a.m. on Saturday, the RCMP were reporting traffic jams near the Moncton location, a parking lot at the Magic Mountain amusement park.
Some residents turned to social media to vent their anger over the shortage of kits, with some saying the distribution program was poorly organized.
"We’re grateful for the high interest in these tests as people clearly want to do what they can to help fight the COVID-19 virus,” Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer said in a statement Sunday.
"Thank you for your patience with staff at the centres as they work as quickly as possible to distribute the tests."
Each kit include five tests that can be used at home over a 10-day period.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2021.
The Canadian Press