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N.B. revises cabinet minister’s quote saying ‘we are no longer in a pandemic’

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New Brunswick’s Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard said in a release that “we are no longer in a pandemic,” though the release has since been revised to say “pandemic lockdowns.”

Shephard, formerly the health minister, was quoted in a provincial release Wednesday morning announcing that iPads will be provided to long-term care facilities to help with residents stay connected to loved ones.

The province partnered up with tech provider BrunNet to provide 761 tablets across 461 adult residential facilities, with a total value of $602,516. Each of the facilities will have one tablet per every 10 residents.

Shephard said in the release being able to connect with friends and loved ones  “is a key part of preventing isolation and loneliness.”

Read more: COVID-19: New Brunswick reports 4 new deaths, jump in hospitalizations

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She continued to say in the release:

“This partnership was successful in bringing tablets to nursing homes in 2020 as the pandemic grew. Although we are no longer in a pandemic, the goal to connect everyone is still important.”

However, shortly after several articles were published on the statement, the province revised Shephard’s quote. It now reads “Although we are no longer in a pandemic lockdown, the goal to connect everyone is still important.”

At the top of the page, the province also included a note about the revision, saying “Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of news releases, an oversight occurred in an earlier version of this release. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”

Though most restrictions have been lifted, New Brunswick’s government has not officially declared an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In its recent weekly epidemiology report, public health reported four deaths and 712 new PCR-confirmed cases of the virus, in the week ending Aug. 27. The province also saw 31 new hospital admissions.

It estimated there were 1,072 active cases on Aug. 27.

A new epidemiology update is set to be released Wednesday.

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