New Brunswick truck drivers encouraged to take voluntary Covid-19 tests

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FREDERICTON, N.B. – New Brunswick truck drivers are being “strongly encouraged” to be voluntarily tested for Covid-19 when facing such requests at a provincial weigh station.

The request comes in a memo distributed by Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health. (Photo: Province of New Brunswick)

Testing began yesterday at the Saint Jacques weigh station, and additional sites will be determined in coming weeks, Russell says. Specimens are being taken using swabs.

“Longhaul truck drivers who do not have symptoms at the time of testing do not have to self-isolate while awaiting the test result,” Russell says in the memo. “Truckers who are asymptomatic at the time of testing, whose test comes back positive, will be contacted by Public Health and instructions will be provided to immediately self-isolate.”

Longhaul truck drivers will also have a specific option to choose when calling Telecare 811 options to arrange for Covid-19 tests, regardless of the presence of symptoms. The assessment center closest to the driver’s home address will then call back with appointment times.

A testing area has now been established in the Saint-Jacques scale house. (Photo: Province of New Brunswick)

“Should an appropriate level of sentinel testing of (longhaul truck drivers) not be obtained voluntarily, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health may be required to investigate other mandatory options,” Russell added.

Like all New Brunswick residents, those who experience any two of the following symptoms should self isolate and call TeleCare 811 for testing:

  • Fever above 38 C
  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • A new onset of fatigue
  • A new onset of muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

The Saint-Jacques scale house and weigh station off Hwy. 2 has introduced a testing station and red lines on the floor to show where drivers need to stand.

The latest phase of the province’s plan to reopen was set back after cases of Covid-19 were identified in Campbellton, N.B. Public health officials have said that a healthcare worker at Campbellton Regional Hospital made a personal trip to Quebec and didn’t self-isolate after returning. That led to a shutdown of the hospital’s emergency department and the cancellation of non-urgent and selective surgeries.

Up until that point, the province had no active cases of Covid-19. The 120 people infected since March had all recovered.

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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