COVID-19 round-up for Friday, June 19 – province opens further, feds announce STEM jobs

New Brunswick – In a morning briefing from Fredericton today, Friday, June 19, the province reported no new cases of COVID-19 today, nor were there any new cases yesterday, Thursday, June 18.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 164 and 135 have recovered, including 14 related to the outbreak in Zone 5 (Campbellton region). Twenty-seven cases are active, and the province has seen two virus related deaths.  Two patients are hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit. As of today, 39,806 tests have been conducted.

Testing protocol definition change

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

  • fever above 38°C or signs of fever (such as chills);
  • a new cough or worsening chronic cough;
  • sore throat;
  • runny nose;
  • headache;
  • a new onset of fatigue;
  • a new onset of muscle pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
  • in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes.

Russell said any individual experiencing any one of the symptoms listed above who wants to be tested simply needs to call 811, and follow the directions given.

Next phase of recovery

The provincial government’s COVID-19 recovery plan is moving to the next phase of the Yellow level today, for all areas of the province outside Zone 5.

The Yellow level includes the gradual reopening of more businesses and activities while working to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

“With every step forward, there are risks,” said Russell, but added they are “carefully calculated risks”.

She also added contrary to what’s happening in some other countries, the pandemic situation is improving nationally.

During this phase of the Yellow level, more restrictions are being eased, subject to maintaining physical distancing measures, general guidelines from Public Health and the Guidelines for New Brunswick Workplaces issued by WorkSafeNB.

Businesses opting to reopen during this phase must prepare an operational plan respecting Public Health guidelines that can be provided to officials, if requested.

Premier Blaine Higgs said with two thirds of all New Brunswick businesses now open, the province has reached 81 per cent in consumer confidence, the highest in the Atlantic provinces.

“We are on the right path,” said Higgs.

Effective Friday, June 19:

  • 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 follow-up should there be a COVID-19 exposure at the facility.

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.

Higgs also said he hoped to soon make the announcement regarding a travel bubble with other Atlantic provinces in early July, and then travel opportunities across the country will be pursued.

Information on public health recovery phases, measures and guidelines is available online.

From outside Biscotti & Cie Café in Chelsea, PQ, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced as part of the support for students, the government has created 500 jobs and training opportunities for young people in STEM in the energy, forestry, mining, earth sciences, and clean technology sectors.

Ranging from six months to one year, Trudeau said the internships will provide “invaluable” work experience, and give young people the opportunity to explore careers in the resource sector.

Trudeau also said the COVID-19 tracking app, which is designed to help with aspects such as contact tracing, will be test run first in Ontario, and then rolled out across the country as a voluntary engagement.  Higgs said the province had been working on a similar app to use in New Brunswick, but happily use the national version providing it’s rolled out in a timely fashion and is user friendly.

For information on various benefit plans, application portals, Canada’s job bank, and up to date information on COVID-19 across the country, go to www.canada.ca

editor@stcroixcourier.ca