N.B. takes next step in recovery as it reports no new coronavirus cases, Zone 5 remains ‘orange’

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs speaks with the media in Fredericton, New Brunswick on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs speaks with the media in Fredericton, New Brunswick on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray

New Brunswick reported no new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, with Premier Blaine Higgs announcing that the province is moving to the next phase of the “yellow” level for all areas of the province except Zone 5.

“We must be sure that the current outbreak has been contained before we are able to move Zone 5 out of the Orange level of recovery,” Premier Blaine Higgs said in a press release.

READ MORE: New Brunswick reports no new coronavirus cases Thursday, Zone 5 remains ‘orange’

“I understand this is frustrating to those who live and work in the Restigouche region, but by taking the proper precautions in the short term, we will positively impact our province in the long term.”

The yellow level, the province said, includes the gradual reopening of more businesses and activities while working to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

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“This will enable us to continue to reopen our economy and put New Brunswickers back to work,” said Higgs.

READ MORE: 1 new coronavirus case identified in New Brunswick involving health-care employee

“Two thirds of New Brunswick businesses are fully open already; more than in any other province. We are on the right path, making the hard decisions and taking the actions needed as we all come to terms with this new normal.”

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In a statement, the province said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick is 164 and 135 people have recovered, including 14 related to the outbreak in Zone 5 (Campbellton region).

There have been two deaths and the number of active cases is 27. Two patients are hospitalized, with one in an intensive care unit. As of Friday, 39,806 tests have been conducted.

Increase in testing

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, has also announced an increase in testing across the province by allowing testing for anyone experiencing one of the following symptoms:

  • Fever above 38 C or signs of fever, such as chills
  • New cough or worsening chronic cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • New onset of fatigue
  • New onset of muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell
  • In children, purple markings on the fingers or toes.

“If you or anyone in your family is experiencing any one of the symptoms and want to get tested for COVID-19, please call 811 and follow their directions,” said Russell.

“If you have one symptom you need to self-monitor but not self-isolate. Anyone with two symptoms should call 811. Based upon an assessment test, they may be referred for testing and will be asked to self-isolate until your test results are known. People with positive results will be contacted by Public Health and monitored through follow-up calls.”

Yellow level 

According to the province, businesses that choose to reopen during the yellow level must prepare an operational plan respecting public health guidelines that can be provided to officials, if requested.

Effective Friday, June 19, the province released the following reopenings:

  • Overnight camps will be allowed to open.
  • Indoor visits with one visitor at a time for residents of long-term care facilities will be permitted if the facilities are able to do so. (Unless the visitor requires support, in which case, two visitors at a time will be allowed.)
  • New Brunswick residents no longer need to self-isolate when returning from work in another Canadian province or territory but they should self-monitor.
  • Canadian residents owning property in New Brunswick will be permitted to enter the province provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of their visit if it is shorter than 14 days.
  • Canadian residents can visit family members in New Brunswick provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of their visit if it is shorter than 14 days.
  • All organized sports are permitted with appropriate distancing and sanitizing.
  • A cap on the number of people gathering in controlled venues is lifted. Occupancy is based on the ability to maintain physical distancing between participants that are not close friends and family. This includes churches, swimming pools, saunas, waterparks, rinks, indoor recreational facilities and organized sports, which previously had a gathering limit of 50 people.
  • Venues with indoor events with controlled entry or controlled seating are required to maintain records of users’ contact information to allow public health to conduct targeted followup should there be a COVID-19 exposure at the facility.

The province also noted that if the  virus infection numbers remain manageable, the following restrictions are anticipated to be lifted, effective Friday, June 26:

  • All remaining businesses can open with appropriate distancing and sanitizing, and operational plans respecting public health guidelines.
  • Zone 5 will move fully into the yellow level with the rest of the province, provided the outbreak continues to be managed.
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