Advertisement

New Brunswick sees spike of COVID-19 cases tied to cruise travel

New Brunswick will provide an update on their efforts to combat coronavirus.

Provincial health officials in New Brunswick have detected six new cases of COVID-19, four of which are tied to cruise travel.

On Saturday, the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said the new cases include two women and two men – all between the ages of 40 and 70 – who recently travelled on a cruise ship.

The other two cases are a woman between 20 and 30, who had contact with a previous travel-related case, and a woman between 50 and 60, who had direct contact with a previous case.

READ MORE: New Brunswick unveils coronavirus self-assessment tool

“There are people travelling from all over the world from different parts of New Brunswick, and we are anticipating that if they stay at home and self-isolate…we can contain the travel-related cases,” said Russell in a press conference.

Story continues below advertisement

“That’s our goal right now. We need to behave as though we all have COVID-19.”

There are now nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight presumptive cases in New Brunswick for a total of 17 COVID-19 cases.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick sees spike of COVID-19 cases tied to cruise travel' Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick sees spike of COVID-19 cases tied to cruise travel
Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick sees spike of COVID-19 cases tied to cruise travel – Mar 21, 2020

All of the new cases announced Saturday are in the southern and central health zones.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Russell said the patients are in self-isolation with mild to moderate symptoms, and are being closely monitored by public health officials.

She declined to reveal whether those individuals who had travelled on cruises were on the same ship or airplane.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick unveils COVID-19 self-assessment tool, closes schools until further notice' Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick unveils COVID-19 self-assessment tool, closes schools until further notice
Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick unveils COVID-19 self-assessment tool, closes schools until further notice – Mar 20, 2020

On Saturday, the province also announced new relief for residents accessing prescription medication under public drug coverage.

Story continues below advertisement

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russell said those patients will only be responsible for the initial co-payment on a prescription fill or refill.

“For example, a patient with a 90-day prescription with only have a co-payment for the first 30-day fill, and there will be no co-payment required for the second and third 30-day fills on the same 90-day prescription,” she explained.

“This applies to all New Brunswickers that are on the public drug plan, including many seniors and low-income individuals.”

READ MORE: St. Stephen, N.B. prepares for change on eve of coronavirus border restrictions

This week, New Brunswick took rapid new measures to prevent the spread of infection in the Maritime province.

On Thursday, the government declared a state of emergency, enabling it to order the closure of certain communal spaces, including gyms, performance theatres, cinemas, bars and more.

The province has also limited public access to Service New Brunswick centres, reduced hours at liquor and cannabis stores, and restricted restaurants to takeout only.

On Friday, Higgs also announced that childcare fees will be covered for anyone out of work as a result of COVID-19, and interest fees on student loans will be frozen for the next six months.

Story continues below advertisement

Schools, however, have been suspended indefinitely as the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development follows best practices for social distancing.

Click to play video: 'N.B. working to get children of essential services workers in daycare during coronavirus pandemic' N.B. working to get children of essential services workers in daycare during coronavirus pandemic
N.B. working to get children of essential services workers in daycare during coronavirus pandemic – Mar 20, 2020

“This coming week, we encourage parents and students to focus on your own physical and mental well-being,” said a Friday letter to parents from Deputy Minister George Daley.

“Resources are being assembled to share early next week to help guide and support your efforts.”

In the meantime, the provincial government is asking any residents who are concerned about possible COVID-19 symptoms to use a new self-assessment tool available on its website.

Anyone who has travelled internationally in the last two weeks must continue to self-isolate for 14 days, while everyone else is asked to keep their distance from others, and limit public gatherings to small groups.

Advertisement

Sponsored content