Health officials say ‘too early’ into New Brunswick outbreak to reconsider Atlantic bubble

Click to play video 'Health officials across Atlantic Canada closely monitoring outbreak in New Brunswick' Health officials across Atlantic Canada closely monitoring outbreak in New Brunswick
WATCH: As the COVID-19 outbreak in New Brunswick spread- there is concern about the Atlantic bubble, but health officials say that at this time there are no consideration of restriction travel within the bubble. Alexa MacLean has more – Oct 9, 2020

Chief public health officers within the Atlantic bubble aren’t making any decisions yet regarding the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick and how that may impact travel restrictions between the Atlantic provinces.

Dr. Heather Morrison, the chief health officer for Prince Edward Island, said doctors want to make sure that New Brunswick officials have a chance to ‘get their arms around the outbreak.’

“So, it’s early to have that conversation.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick to provide COVID-19 update on Friday

Dr. Morrison says there are currently three active cases on the island, all related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble.

New Brunswick is currently dealing with an outbreak at Notre-Dame Manor, a special care home in Moncton.

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As of Thursday, the New Brunswick government reported 19 active cases of COVID-19 linked to the special care home. The active cases include 13 residents, four health-care workers and two family members who were close contacts.

READ MORE: New Brunswick reports 17 new COVID-19 cases linked to Norte-Dame Manor outbreak

The New Brunswick government is still working to determine the cause of the outbreak at the facility and has now made masks mandatory in all indoor public places.

Health officials for all the Atlantic provinces are “closely monitoring” the situation in New Brunswick, according to an email from Dan Harrison, communications director with Nova Scotia’s department of health and wellness.

“There are no changes to our border policy because at this time the indication from New Brunswick is there is no confirmed community transmission.”

Morrison echoes that sentiment, stating now is the time for people travelling within the region to be extra vigilant of public health protocols while still enjoying relaxed restrictions.

“It’s really important to practice the public health measures that are in place, both in the province you’re travelling to but also when you come back to your home province,” Morrison said.

In a COVID-19 update to Prince Edward Island residents on Thursday, Morrison spoke of the rising number of cases happening in other parts of Canada.

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“There was an alarming rate of increase, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, but also Manitoba. Ontario and Quebec accounted for 78 per cent of the new cases last week,” Morrison said.

She says the national daily case count of COVID-19 is in the same range of numbers that were seen during the initial wave of the virus in the spring.

“It is concerning to hear about the necessary but restrictive measures being reinstated and health systems being overwhelmed,” Morrison said.

Health officials say there are numerous factors to consider when it comes to the consideration of potentially reinstating restrictions.

Some of these factors include community spread, an increase in people contracting the virus who are in need of critical care, and a small number of cases occurring with a large number of close contacts.

“It is important that Nova Scotians follow the public health measures here in our province or when visiting our neighbouring provinces. The key measures of physical distancing, gathering limits, hand washing and using a non-medical mask will help keep all of us keep safe,” Harrison wrote.