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New Brunswick reports 12 new COVID-19 cases, ends Atlantic bubble

Click to play video 'New Brunswick ends Atlantic bubble, moves capital to orange phase' New Brunswick ends Atlantic bubble, moves capital to orange phase
WATCH: The New Brunswick government has effectively burst the Atlantic bubble, as Premier Blaine Higgs reintroduced mandatory isolations for non-essential travel. And, the provincial capital is now in the orange phase of COVID-19 restrictions. Tim Roszell has this story – Nov 26, 2020

New Brunswick called it quits on the coronavirus border deal with neighbouring provinces and reported 12 new cases on Thursday.

Eight of these cases were detected in the Saint John region, three in the Fredericton area and one in Moncton.

Chief of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said in a provincial update that there are now 105 known active COVID-19 cases in the province.

Don’t gather, test early

The increase in cases is fuelled by young adults, same as the outbreak in Halifax, Russell says.

According to Public Health, individuals under 30 make up more than half of the active cases in New Brunswick.

“It is vitally important that young people do three things: stop gathering in large groups, stop travelling to known hotspots in our region, and get tested as soon as symptoms emerge,” Russell says.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Fredericton, central New Brunswick move to Orange Phase amid rise in cases' Coronavirus: Fredericton, central New Brunswick move to Orange Phase amid rise in cases
Coronavirus: Fredericton, central New Brunswick move to Orange Phase amid rise in cases – Nov 26, 2020

In this age group, symptoms may be mild or non-existent and an individual may be infectious before symptoms emerge. Russell says it’s important to follow Public Health guidelines.

“Young people are not as likely to become gravely ill from COVID-19, but it does happen,” she says.

Russell says they are passing the virus unknowingly on to elders and those less able to fight off the effects of the virus.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: New Brunswick returns to mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers' Coronavirus: New Brunswick returns to mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers
Coronavirus: New Brunswick returns to mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers – Nov 26, 2020

Socializing with several social groups “works against us” in a pandemic, Russell says.

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She pleads New Brunswickers to limit their number of close contacts and monitor themselves closely for symptoms.

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“Even if it’s a sniffle, a runny nose, headache, please look at the list online.”

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Fredericton moves to orange phase

Public Health advised to move the Fredericton region into the orange phase of COVID-19 recovery, in addition to Saint John and Moncton, which remain orange.

This means residents will have to limit their social circles to their immediate family bubble and caregivers.

The province says people should be going in and out for essential reasons only in areas under the orange phase.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the province is also working to investigate any potential exposure locations in the Fredericton area such as in schools, gyms and bars.

“Public Health have a done a super job at identifying where people have had contacts and now we’re waiting,” he says.

“Community transmission has not been confirmed here.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: New Brunswick health official discourages non-essential travel to Halifax' Coronavirus: New Brunswick health official discourages non-essential travel to Halifax
Coronavirus: New Brunswick health official discourages non-essential travel to Halifax – Nov 25, 2020

New border rules, increased surveillance

Effective midnight, anyone travelling into New Brunswick from another province, including any Atlantic province, must self-isolate for 14 days unless exempt.

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Higgs said in the update that travel is permitted for those with essential reasons who preregister.

Those who haven’t registered will be fined, Higgs says. To date, 71 fines have been handed out.

In an email statement, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said he respects the decision of New Brunswick.

“At this time, Nova Scotia is focused on the new measures that came into effect today, including the strong recommendation from public health to avoid non-essential travel.

As always, we will continue to monitor cases of COVID-19 in our province and across the region and take further steps if necessary.”

Read more: Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. exit coronavirus pact

Higgs says the province is ramping up surveillance in all areas, especially Zone 3, which is now in the orange phase.

This will include community checks by peace officers, surveilling outside licence plates and other strategies, Higgs said in the Thursday briefing.

Click to play video 'New Brunswick to increase COVID-19 testing capacity amid second wave' New Brunswick to increase COVID-19 testing capacity amid second wave
New Brunswick to increase COVID-19 testing capacity amid second wave – Nov 25, 2020

Higgs says he wants to avoid shutting down the economy. Businesses can choose what is best for them, to stay open or close.

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“It’s important we allow businesses to operate… but not following the rules is not one of the options.”

Read more: Saint John businesses fear potential move to red phase COVID-19 restrictions

He says he wants to assess the impacts before calling for closures all-around and “act accordingly.”

Higgs says he hopes New Brunswickers hear out Public Health advice and change their behaviour.

“I’m asking everyone in our province… be patient, be adherent to the rules and let’s stay number one in our country in beating COVID.”