COVID-19 roundup for Wednesday, March 25 – Eight new cases identified, Higgs announces new provincial border restrictions

New Brunswick – Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health for the province announced eight new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, bringing the total to 26, during the daily press briefing from Fredericton.

“They are all related to travel,” said Russell, “Or contact with someone who has recently travelled.”

The cases are:

  • An individual aged 50-60, in Zone 1 (southeast), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 30-40, 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 50-60, in Zone 2 (south), whose case is travel-related (had been on a cruise).
  • An individual aged 10-20, in Zone 2 (south), whose case is travel-related (had been on a cruise).
  • An individual aged 20-30, in Zone 2 (south), who is a close contact of a travel-related case.
  • An individual aged 30-40, in Zone 3 (central), whose case is travel-related.
  • An individual aged 30-40, in Zone 4 (northwest), whose case is travel-related.

Russell went on to comment the province has conducted more than 1700 tests, and is currently testing approximately 150 people per day, with the capacity to test anywhere from 600 to 1000.

“I want to ensure the public the province is testing more people more widely as the situation evolves,” said Russell.

“As we increase testing in the days and weeks ahead, we will find more confirmed cases.”

Russell also warned New Brunswickers could be dealing with the effects of this virus for as long as 18 to 24 months while we wait for a vaccine or alternate treatments.

“We are in this for the long haul,” she said.

“As of today (Wednesday) at 3 p.m., our province will implement restrictions for all travellers who are arriving in New Brunswick from outside this province,” said NB Premier, Blaine Higgs.

“This will add inter-provincial travellers to those needing to self-isolate, along with international travellers.

“Border checks will be conducted at points of entry from Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia,” said Higgs.

As part of the process, information on travellers will be collected and verified, and destinations will be tracked for all travellers including those passing through the province.

All commercial traffic and essential services are exempt and will still be able to cross provincial lines.

“All unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited, and peace officers are authorized to turn visitors away when they attempt to enter,” Higgs added.

This morning in the House of Commons, Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, announced the enacting of Canada’s Quarantine Act. “Effective midnight tonight (Wednesday), travellers returning to Canada, with the exception of essential workers, will be subject to a mandatory 14 day isolation under the Quarantine Act,” said Hajdu.

“This new measure will provide the clarity for those re-entering the country about the essential need to self-isolate.”

Under the Quarantine Act, individuals are now legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days on returning to Canada, and face enforcement and penalties should they ignore the mandate.

Travellers are also forbidden from riding public transportation to arrive at the location at which they will self-isolate, and from coming in contact with any individual deemed vulnerable.

Violations under the Quarantine Act can result in up to $750,000 in fines and/or up to six months in jail.

If you are felt to have jeopardized a person’s life, ie: you are contagious and knowingly exposed someone to the virus, you could be subject to $1 million in fines and/or three years in jail.

Nova Scotia saw it’s cases of COVID-19 grow by 17 today, giving that province a total of 68 confirmed cases. All were travel related, or individuals connected to previously reported cases.

editor@stcroixcourier.ca