Higgs said the task force will be vested with decision-making authority about the pandemic response for all aspects of the health-care system, including the regional health authorities, Extra-Mural and Ambulance New Brunswick, primary care and the long-term care system.“We need to empower, expedite and facilitate the essential workers who are putting themselves at risk to protect us all,” said Higgs. “This approach will implement actions and deploy resources across all aspects of the health-care system.”

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The task force consists of Russell along with Dr. Gordon Dow, infectious disease specialist of Horizon Health Network; Dr. Nicole LeBlanc, chief of staff of Vitalité Health Network; and Gérald Richard, deputy minister of Health.In a statement released on Monday, the province also said a clinical group of experts with relevant practice experience will be called upon to provide advice that will inform or validate the decisions of the task force.“The situation demands that the province be able to react rapidly and effectively to ensure we minimize the impacts of this insidious virus on our citizens,” said Health Minister Hugh J. Flemming, who attended the press briefing.“This task force has been granted clear authority to ensure timely and effective decisions are made in real time.”