COVID-19 round-up for Wednesday, April 8 – the no, Easter doesn’t mean you can gather edition

New Brunswick – There are now 108 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health announced three new cases at the daily press briefing from Fredericton.

The new cases are:

  • An individual aged 60-69 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
  • An individual aged 60-69 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)
  • An individual aged 80-89 in Zone 6 (Acadie-Bathurst region)

Russell and Premier Blaine Higgs stressed the importance of not gathering this coming Easter weekend – despite being a holiday where traditionally family would be together.

Residents are reminded as a tenant of the state of emergency in the province for COVID-19, restrictions are in place for all gatherings, which includes religious celebrations – ie- church.

Clergy members are permitted to livestream a religious service, but those operating video equipment must maintain the physical distancing requirements of two metres.

“You may think ‘it’s just my family’ or ‘it’s just my friends’,” said Russell. “But the COVID-19 virus may be an uninvited guest at your event, brought along by someone who has only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Do not let that happen.”

From Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced changes to the wage subsidy program.

“We said that businesses had to demonstrate that their revenue had dropped by 30 per cent this month compared to the last year in order to receive the subsidy,” said Trudeau.

“We recognize that for non-profit organizations and fast-growth companies that could present a problem, so we are going to relax those conditions.

“First of all, businesses will have to show a decline of 15 per cent in their revenue for the month of March rather than 30 per cent in order to consider the fact that the pandemic has had an impact on their activities in March. “Businesses will also be able to choose to use the month of January and February as a reference period to show a loss of revenue.

“With respect to charities and non-profits, we understand that you are facing a different reality when it comes to funding. For that reason, you will have a choice. You can include or exclude the government subsidy when you calculate your loss of revenue.”

Trudeau credited ongoing conversations with stakeholders and workers for valuable input which lead to the changes.

He also announced coming changes to the Canada Student Jobs program. Employers will be eligible to receive up to 100 per cent of the costs of hiring students, and the job placement time frame can be extended into the winter months. Also, employers will be able to hire students on a part-time basis.

Trudeau was also able to confirm arrival of the expected 500,000 N95 masks from 3M, which will now be distributed to the areas of the country most in need of them.

And, as did all provincial leaders, Trudeau ended with a reminder to all Canadians the only way out is through – and although Easter Weekend is upon us, please stay at home.

“That’s the best way to stay healthy and protect our front-line workers who are doing so much to help all of us.”

At 7 p.m. EDT, there were 19,289 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada. More than 50 per cent of the cases are in Quebec with 10,031, with Ontario in second place with 5,276.

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