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N.B. ‘on track’ to loosen restrictions at end of month, premier says

Click to play video: 'Premier says New Brunswick ‘on track’ to loosen restrictions' Premier says New Brunswick ‘on track’ to loosen restrictions
WATCH: New Brunswick’s premier says the province is on track to lift restrictions as scheduled, as Public Health pushes to get more kids vaccinated. – Jan 21, 2022

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the province is “on track” to move to the less restrictive Level 2 of its winter action plan at the end of the month.

The province is currently in the midst of a 16-day lockdown, under the strictest Level 3 restrictions. The lockdown is scheduled to remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. January 30.

While there are 450 health-care workers off work due to COVID-19, Higgs said during a Friday news conference that the number is not growing and there appears to be a “balance” of those who have to take time off, and of those who are returning to work.

“We’re still not out of the woods for sure, but it is a positive sign,” he said.

Read more: COVID-19: More than 400 N.B. health staff isolating, 3 new deaths reported

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He also said there are “early indications” that hospitalizations are growing at a slower rate.

“I want to stress that we likely still have not seen the peak of our cases and hospitalizations, but our ability to manage the situation is improving thanks to the dedication of multiple teams,” Higgs said.

Click to play video: 'N.B. medical society encouraging doctors to wear goggles to protect against COVID-19' N.B. medical society encouraging doctors to wear goggles to protect against COVID-19
N.B. medical society encouraging doctors to wear goggles to protect against COVID-19 – Jan 20, 2022

New Brunswick reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the provincial death toll to 201.

There are a total of 125 people in hospital, with 14 people in intensive care. Nine people are on a ventilator.

Of those in hospital, 102 are aged 60 and over and two people are aged 19 or under.

Read more: N.B. docs encouraged to wear goggles, but not enough evidence for public to follow: experts

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Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, urged New Brunswick parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

She said since children aged five to 11 became eligible, more than 29,000 kids have gotten vaccinated. However, Russell said progress has slowed in recent weeks and only 53 per cent of eligible children have received their first dose.

“Vaccination provides an important level of protection for children along with masks, maintaining physical distance and other measures,” she said, stressing that the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is safe and there has been an “extremely low” number of adverse effects reported nationally.

“By getting your kids vaccinated, you will be helping them get back to being kids.”

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