Provincial health officials gave the update during a daily briefing on the province’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said the newest presumptive cases involve a woman in her 60s in southeastern New Brunswick who was on a cruise, a man in his 60s who came into contact with an individual who had been in contact with a travel-related case and a woman in her 50s who had travelled to the U.K.
“Our aim is to slow this down so that the number of cases spread over a longer period,” said Russell.
At this point, she said the provincial government is telling all New Brunswickers to self-isolate, including those who have been infected.
“What is happening right now is unprecedented in history,” Russell said.
She also stressed that people must stay at home and avoid any kind of gathering.
“There should be no sleepovers or playdates. This is not a drill,” Premier Blaine Higgs said at the press briefing.
He said people must keep at least six feet away from others.
“Some people have no choice but to be out there,” Higgs said, noting that this includes health-care workers and truck drivers who are bringing necessary resources to stores.
“They are leaving their families at home and in service to the greater good. We need to do what we can to help them stay healthy and safe, and that means we must stay at home as much as possible.”
During this time, Higgs also said parents won’t be charged while daycares are closed. He’s also asking daycare services not to increase their rates.
Although some businesses have shut down for the time being, Higgs said grocery stores and pharmacies remain open.
“Our supply chain remains strong. That won’t change,” said Higgs.
He also said that overbuying is not necessary, as it will create more work for those who are working.
Higgs said the Department of Social Development is in constant contact with food banks, soup kitchens, agencies such as Meals on Wheels and similar organizations, to ensure the continued provision of services.
If volunteers are needed, many civil servants are available and have offered to help. If these organizations experience an influx of new clients, the department will provide additional financial support.
Moreover, the premier said that the department is working closely with shelters for the homeless to encourage best practices in preventing the onset and spread of the virus. T
The shelters are reinforcing safe hygiene practices, including constant handwashing, among the clients and staff are cleaning the shelters thoroughly.
According to the province, most shelters are operating at or near capacity, but plans are being finalized to provide temporary separate accommodations in the event a shelter client becomes ill with COVID 19.
Higgs also stressed the importance of following the advice of health professionals to protect New Brunswickers, especially the more vulnerable residents. He warned that if people do not act as advised, additional measures may need to be taken to ensure that everyone follows the Public Health recommendations.