FREDERICTON (GNB) – Effective at midnight tonight, the entire province will move to the Orange level under its COVID-19 recovery plan.
Public Health recommended the move due to the doubling of cases in less than six days, escalating case counts, as well as reports of situations where some individuals were not complying with public health measures.
“In spite of aggressive messaging prior to and during the holiday season, we knew that some would selfishly ignore the rules,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “There is a risk that our health-care system could be faced with hundreds of new cases each day and would quickly be overwhelmed. We must act swiftly and decisively to ensure that does not happen.”
“We have been successful throughout the pandemic because we have been aggressive when needed,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “Despite our efforts to inform New Brunswickers about following public health guidance measures during the holidays, we have seen case numbers doubling in some areas and have learned of examples where people did not follow the self-isolation guidelines. There is a risk of our health-care system being overwhelmed quickly which is why this type of action is required.”
In the Orange level, subject to the Public Health and WorkSafeNB COVID-19 general guidance, a series of rules and restrictions apply and are available online. Included among the requirements are the following:
- Single household bubble: A one household bubble includes the people you live with. The bubble can be extended to caregivers, an immediate family member who needs the support from someone in the household (a parent who relies on their adult child for example) and one other person who needs support. It is only this same single household permitted to go to restaurants and other venues together.
- Only essential travel is recommended within the province, however, people can continue to travel for work, school, essential errands and medical appointments.
- Masks are mandatory in indoor public places. Masks are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained.
Twenty-seven new cases
Public Health reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 today.
The nine cases in Zone 1 (Moncton region) are as follows:
- an individual 19 and under;
- six people 20-29;
- an individual 30-39; and
- an individual 50-59.
The three cases in Zone 2 (Saint John region) are as follows:
- an individual 19 and under;
- an individual 40-49; and
- an individual 90 and over.
The 11 cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) are as follows:
- two people 19 and under;
- an individual 20-29;
- two people 30-39;
- two people 40-49;
- three people 50-59; and
- an individual 60-69.
The two cases in Zone 4 (Edmundston region) are as follows:
- an individual 20-29; and
- an individual 50-59.
The two cases in Zone 5 (Campbellton region) are as follows:
All cases are self-isolating and under investigation.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 662 and 572 have recovered. There have been nine deaths, and the number of active cases is 80. One patient is hospitalized and is in an intensive care unit. As of today, 155,253 tests have been conducted.
Self-isolation means staying at home and avoiding all contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease to others in your home and community.
“It is imperative that if you have travelled you must self-isolate for a full 14 days and avoid contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus prior to developing symptoms or at the earliest stage of illness,” said Russell.
Information on self-isolation is available online.
Public Health follows a standard process when addressing instances where the public may have been exposed to a case of COVID-19. In cases where record-keeping is able to identify anyone who may have been exposed, officials contact these individuals directly and do not issue a separate announcement. In cases where officials cannot be certain of exactly who may have been exposed to the virus in a given location, Public Health issues an announcement to alert those who could have been affected and provides instructions.
Public Health has identified potential public exposure to the virus at the following locations:
- Miss Cue pool hall from Dec. 31 at 11 p.m. to Jan. 1 at 1:30 a.m. (495 Mountain Rd., Moncton in Zone 1).
- Walmart on Dec. 30 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and on Dec. 31 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. (4 Jagoe St., Atholville in Zone 5).
If you were at any of these locations, and you have no symptoms of COVID-19, self-monitor and follow all Public Health guidelines. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and do not need to talk to a nurse, complete the self-assessment and get tested.
Relief for small businesses
Higgs announced additional relief for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in the form of a non-repayable grant.
“It is crucial that we continue to support businesses that face difficulties, especially when they are impacted by elevated and/or restrictive, but necessary, Public Health measures in either Orange or Red alert levels,” he said.
Through Opportunities New Brunswick, these grants of up to $5,000 will be available for small businesses that have been subject to Orange or Red alert level measures for at least one week between Oct. 10, 2020, and March 31, 2021. This new support program is in addition to the enhancements being made to the Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program that resulted in more than $17 million being distributed to businesses throughout the province.
Further details, such as eligibility requirements and how and where to apply, will be available in the coming weeks.05-01-21