New Brunswick Opening Up As COVID-19 Curve Starts to Flatten. No New Case Reported In The Last Seven Days
Today marks the seventh day were no new cases have been in New Brunswick by the Department of Public Health. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 118 and the number of active cases is 11. To date, 107 people have recovered. Four people remain hospitalized, and there are no patients in an intensive care unit.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said she is pleased with the progress New Brunswick has made but the province cannot let down its guard.
“We want every day to be like today, where we have no new positive cases,” said Russell. “It has been a week and I hope we can continue that trend.”
People should wear non-medical masks, also referred to as community face masks, when physical distancing may not be possible, such as in a grocery store or at a pharmacy.
“Some stores have indicated they may require customers to wear community face masks, so it is good to have one with you,” said Russell. “Make sure the mask is clean and dry and do not touch it while wearing it. Wash it after using it and do not share it with others.”
With the curve appearing to flatten in New Brunswick, Premier Blaine Higgs said the recovery phase, which began on Friday, should not be taken lightly. The Premier has outlined several steps to slightly loosen restrictions on public gathering.
“We are opening the door slightly and we want to continue to loosen restrictions,” said Higgs. “However, we need to be vigilant during this phase and follow the directives of Public Health. Otherwise, we will have to bring back more stringent restrictions.”
The first phase of New Brunswick’s recovery plan and the loosening of some public health restrictions were announced today by Premier Blaine Higgs, the COVID-19 all-party committee which includes Liberal leader Kevin Vickers, People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin and Green Party leader David Coon, and by Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.
“In these extraordinary times, I thank the other leaders, and Dr. Russell and her team for their unprecedented collaboration,” said Higgs. “To date, we have been able to manage a very difficult situation. The fact that over the past few days there have been no new cases is cause for measured optimism. I must say our success to date can largely be attributed to the ability of this group to put partisan politics aside and put New Brunswick first. Everyone in the province is focused on the same goal, whether they work in the departments of health, public safety or other frontline services, or whether they are at home doing their part by physical distancing. Your success thus far has made the next step possible.”
The plan to re-open businesses, educational facilities, the health-care system, recreational activities, and cultural events will be guided by four distinct public health alert levels:
- Red: This is the present phase aimed at flattening the curve and containing the virus as quickly as possible.
- Orange: The goal of this phase is to balance the reopening of social and economic settings while preventing a resurgence of transmission.
- Yellow: The goal of this phase is to further increase the reopening of social and economic settings after the ability to control transmission has been demonstrated.
- Green: This phase will likely come after a vaccine is available or more is learned about how to protect people from the virus.
The phased plan will allow health experts to monitor and evaluate the impact of the lifting of restrictions. At any time, restrictions that have been lifted may quickly be reinstated to protect public health. Restrictions may be put in place based on provincial, regional or local circumstances such as unlinked community outbreaks or cases that cannot be traced.
“We will continue to carefully monitor COVID-19 in the province. This includes testing and tracing,” said Russell. “New Brunswickers must continue following public health measures. Even as we begin to remove restrictions, you will be required to continue to practise physical distancing and good hygiene.”
As a first step, the following will be allowed effective today:
- Two-household bubbles: Households may now choose to spend time with one other household, if both households agree. The selection made is not interchangeable.
- Golf courses and driving ranges: If all physical distancing and safety measures are in place, golf courses and driving ranges can now open.
- Recreational fishing and hunting: The delay on springs seasons has been lifted.
- Outdoor spaces: With physical distancing, people can now enjoy the outdoors including parks and beaches.
- Carpooling: Co-workers or neighbours can carpool if physical distancing measures are maintained by transporting the passenger in the backseat.
- Post-secondary education: Students requiring access to campus to fulfill their course requirements will be able to do so.
- Outdoor religious services: As an alternative to online worship, religious organizations can hold outdoor services if parishioners stay in their vehicles that are two metres apart.
Large gatherings, events and concerts prohibited
Large gatherings such as festivals and concerts are prohibited through Dec. 31, 2020, subject to change.
The Premier indicates further guidelines and readable documents of the public health measures during the recovery phases is being developed and will be available soon. The latest version of New Brunswick’s State of Emergency mandatory order is available online.
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