COVID-19 round-up for Thursday, March 26 – province announced seven additional cases, and financial support for businesses

New Brunswick – Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer for the province of New Brunswick announced seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to 33.

The new cases are:

  • An individual aged 20-30, in Zone 1 (southeast), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 60-70, in Zone 1 (southeast), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 60-70, in Zone 1 (southeast), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 30-40, in Zone 2 (south), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 50-60, in Zone 3 (central west), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 60-70, in Zone 3 (central west), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 60-70, in Zone 3 (central west), whose case is travel-related.

Russell emphasized while the fluid nature of the virus means the approach must constantly evolve, some aspects remain consistent, like social distancing.

“When we put that crucial, physical space between those who have COVID-19 and those who do not, we are depriving the virus of the opportunity to spread more widely,” said Russell.

“By doing this, we are improving our chances of lessening the severity of the outbreak.

“This will not be over soon, but I’m convinced that New Brunswickers can get through this as we have gotten through so much adversity in our past.”

“Right now, layoffs in New Brunswick due to the pandemic are estimated to be between 25 and 30,000 individuals,” said Higgs.

Higgs said along with the bridging payments he announced earlier this week, which amounts to $4.5 million in support, the province was putting more on the table to help the average New Brunswicker.

“We are also introducing ammednments to provide job protection for workers who must take a leave of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Higgs.

“This includes workers who have gotten sick, are caring for family members who are sick, or instructed to self-isolate or quarantine.

“This will provide an unpaid leave of up to 15 weeks allowing employees to take the time they need off work without fear of losing their job,” he added.

Higgs also announced $50 million in assistance will be made available to New Brunswick businesses – $25 million to small business and $25 to medium/large businesses.

As part of the program, small business owners including those in the tourism and restaurant/service sectors directly impacted by the pandemic will be eligible for loans of up to $200,000, and will not be required to pay principle on the loan for up to 12 months.

Medium to large employers will also be able to apply for capital in excess of $200,000 to “manage the impacts of COVID-19 on their business,” said Higgs.

In addition, businesses who already have an existing business loan through a government department can apply to defer loan and interest payments for up to six months, and businesses can also request deferrals by contacting the department who issued the loan.

For all loan opportunities, businesses can apply directly to Opportunities NB for the support.

Higgs also reminded New Brunswickers of the inter-provincial border controls and check points prohibiting non-essential travel.

editor@stcroixcourier.ca