COVID-19 round-up for Tuesday, April 14 – the you’ve got a friend in me edition

New Brunswick – With no new cases of COVID-19 to report in the province today, Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health for New Brunswick, turned her attention to thanking New Brunswickers for offers of help which have flooded into her office.

Residents and businesses in the province are looking to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to support frontline workers, so the province has created a portal at www.gnb.ca/coronavirus where those who have equipment to donate can fill out a form to do so.

Russell commended New Brunswickers for their generosity, and said it “touched her heart”.

Russell also said although the lack of new cases of COVID-19 in the province showed we are moving in the right direction, “we have not reached our destination,” she said.

“We must maintain out resolve. We can’t let up, not even for a minute.”

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs echoed Russell’s statement.

“As we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, one of the things we have asked of everyone is to stay home,” said Higgs.

“For most of us, home is our safety place, but it is understandable if you’re beginning to feel just a little bit restless,” he conceded.

“We’re all anxious and unsettled.”

Higgs also discussed the possibility of spring flooding, and assured New Brunswickers EMO had plans and measures in place should flooding be experienced.

He also said because social distancing will not allow for those who have to leave their homes due to flooding to stay with others, this year the Red Cross would be stepping in and providing alternatives for those who need them.

If the situation does arise, there will be a link on the Government of New Brunswick website providing all required registration information.

Higgs said local businesses and restaurants are suffering, so do what you can to help, from a simple thank-you to staff to making a purchase or ordering a meal.

He said while in person connection wasn’t currently possible, there “are many other ways we can reach out to each other.”

“Help where you can,” he added, be it raking a neighbours yard to making them a meal or leaving a note for someone.

“We’re all struggling right now,” said Higgs.

“So finding healthy ways to feel good are important.”

Higgs also noted if you are not safe at home, or suffering domestic violence, the province is working with transition houses to ensure everyone will have a place to go if needed.

Again, information on various support groups, Kids Help Phone contact information, shelters and other assistance is available at www.gnb.ca

“What I know for sure is that New Brunswickers are resilient and caring and together we will get through this,” said Higgs.

“And I know it’s great news today to hear of no new cases,” said Higgs. “I’m hoping the next number of weeks will be boring in that sense and we won’t see new cases. But that’s unlikely to be the situation.

“I know we’ll get through this and right now boring is what I’m looking for. I’m looking for it to be quiet – peaceful – so when it comes May and the weather really gets good, we will have a really solid track record that we’ll say, ‘you know what…maybe we could think of doing things differently,’ and I am looking forward to that,” Higgs added.

Finally, Higgs confirmed some 33,000 New Brunswickers received the one-time $900 New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit, which was created for workers or self-employed residents who suffered job loss due to the pandemic.

To date, the provincial government has provided more than $30 million in benefit payments.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.

Once again standing outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced after arrivals over the weekend, Canada now has 1.1 million N95 masks to dispense across the country as needed.

He said Canada has also received millions of pairs of gloves, and as of Monday will receiving protective gowns which have been made domestically.

Trudeau also announced progress being made on the testing front.

“Right now, we’re moving forward on a range of rapid testing kits, both from here in Canada and internationally,” said Trudeau. “This includes Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience, who will soon be supplying tens of thousands of kits per month and potentially more as production increases,” he added.

Trudeau also announced $130 million in funding would be made available to northern communities to deal with COVID-19.

“If you live in the north, chances are you’re worried about whether your local health centre has the resources to fight COVID-19 and to cope with cases that might come up.

“So we’re providing $72.6 million to the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut specifically for health care and community preparedness. We’re also investing more money to Nutrition North Canada.

“This will make it easier to afford the food and basics that keep you and your family healthy and to ensure that things like groceries and medical equipment can continue to get to you, we’re providing funding for northern air carriers to transport these supplies,” he said.

He also announced more funding would be provided to CanNor to assist businesses in the north struggling since the start of the pandemic.

Trudeau also announced additional measures being taken under the currently enacted Quarantine Act, which will take effect at midnight tonight, April 14.

“If you’ve come back to Canada from abroad, as of today, we are strengthening measures,” said Trudeau. “Now, if asymptomatic travelers cannot explain a credible quarantine plan, they will be required to quarantine in a hotel.”

Finally, Trudeau announced an additional $20 million in funding for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to “strengthen food inspections and keep our food supply safe.”

He said the funding would allow for additional and overtime shifts, and hiring and training to bring additional people onboard.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14, there are 26,163 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada. Quebec still holds top spot with 13,557, followed by Ontario at 7,953.

For up to date information on COVID-19 in Canada, or for links to information on various assistance programs, go to www.canada.ca

editor@stcroixcourier.ca