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New Brunswick to enter 3rd phase of recovery on Friday: Higgs

New Brunswick moving into its 3rd phase of recovery
WATCH: Nearly two weeks since the last reported case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, the province is moving into the third phase. But as Silas Brown reports, with continued re-openings there also must be continued testing.

New Brunswick will begin the third phase of its recovery plan on Friday, according to premier Blaine Higgs.

Both Higgs and chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell hinted that the third phase of New Brunswick’s recovery plan could be coming soon. But when asked directly if phase three, or phase yellow, would begin on Friday Higgs replied with a simple “that’s correct.”

Friday will mark two weeks since the second, or orange phase, began. According to materials circulated by the province the third phase could begin 2-4 weeks “without a new wave.”

READ MORE: No new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick; all cases have recovered

As the province continues moving through its recovery plan testing remains extremely important.

“In jurisdictions where the numbers cases are low or non-existent that means that the pretest probability will be low, so we have to be very, very careful who we test,” Russell said.

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Dr. Russell says the province is still focused mostly on testing people who are symptomatic, but has also begun targeted pre-operation testing of some asymptomatic people.

READ MORE: No new cases of coronavirus in New Brunswick, all cases remain fully recovered

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Some essential workers making less than $18 an hour will receive $500 top ups from the federal and provincial governments.

Premier Blaine Higgs announced Wednesday that workers in daycare centres, home support, group homes, homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters will be eligible for the wage top up.

Employees will receive the pay bumps in four week installments over 16 weeks, retroactive to March 16. For daycare workers eligibility begins on May 19, the date when daycares were allowed to reopen.

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READ MORE: N.B. Legislature to take over public gallery when it returns next week

“Since this pandemic began essential workers across the province have stepped up for New Brunswick,” Higgs said.

Employers will administer the payments and be compensated by the federal government.

Higgs said higher amounts would not be covered by the feds and would come from provincial coffers.

“It’s my understanding that the group that we have put in place that meet the criteria, that would be a full federal payout and then if we go beyond that criteria it would be a full provincial payout,” Higgs said.