As of Tuesday, the government of New Brunswick confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 70.
At a press briefing, Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said the two new cases involve an individual in their 60s in the Fredericton region and an individual in their 20s in the Edmundston region.
She said one of the new cases is travel-related, while the other came from contact with a previous case.
So far, Russell said, 42 of the confirmed cases are travel-related, 19 are due to close contact with a travel-related case and three are related to community transmission. Six are under investigation.
“As we know, we have confirmed community transmission. We need everyone to stay on their guard … and be vigilant,” said Russell.
She also announced that nine people have since recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, but she cautioned that New Brunswickers need to continue following public health recommendations and measures.
“Don’t have a false sense of security. We know the numbers will continue to grow,” Russell said.
She also recommended to people wondering if they should be worried about community transmission that they behave as if they have COVID-19.
“Staying home will save lives. Health-care workers need your help,” Russell said.
Premier Blaine Higgs, who was also at the press briefing, said the province is working on enhancing its pandemic plan.
“The plan takes both worst-case and best-case scenarios into account,” said Higgs. “This allows us to prepare for all situations we may encounter as this pandemic continues.”
The plan will be presented to cabinet and the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19 for input. It will then be released to the public.
Higgs also encouraged business owners affected by the state of emergency to use existing supports to keep operating and to think long term.
“Use any financial assistance you receive to stay afloat, but keep employees working and look to the future,” said Higgs. “Now is the time to be innovative. If your business is not prohibited from operating and meets the health standards being imposed, we need you.”
Higgs said that so far there have been 38,000 applications for the one-time income benefit of $900 that was announced on March 29.
According to the province, the benefit is intended to help to bridge the time between when people lose their employment or close their business and when they receive their federal benefit.
According to the premier, payments will begin next week.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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