Province gearing up to move back to Yellow phase of recovery in March, hospital visitations and travel between health zones permitted as of midnight, Friday, Feb. 26

New Brunswick – In a live briefing from Fredericton today, Friday, Feb. 26, Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, and Blaine Higgs, premier of New Brunswick announced the planned move to the Yellow phase of recovery Sunday, March 7 at 11:59 p.m., and changes to the current Orange phase restrictions.

“Our outlook continues to be positive,” said Russell.  “We are seeing far fewer cases of COVID-19 in recent days, fewer hospitalizations, and no new outbreaks.

“Earlier this week, we had one day of zero cases, the first time that has happened since Dec. 20.

“These are encouraging signs,” said Russell.

Russell then said the current plan, barring any drastic changes to the current COVID-19 situation in New Brunswick, the province will move to the Yellow phase of recovery at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 7.  Russell said the new version of the Yellow phase is more restrictive than previously due to the variants of the virus now known to be in the province.

“But I must caution a lot can happen in nine days,” warned Russell.

Additionally, at midnight tonight, there will be changes to the Orange phase of recovery, which include allowing hospital visitations and travel between provincial health zones.

The changes to the Orange level of recovery which come into effect at midnight tonight are as follows, taken directly from the GNB website:

  • Travel between Orange zones will be permitted and residents may include people from other Orange zones in their steady 10 contacts.
  • Visits will be allowed in hospitals, as per regional health authority policy and guidance.
  • Compassionate travel exemptions, with Public Health preapproval, will be extended to people living outside New Brunswick who are entering the province to attend a funeral, with public health guidelines in place, including a mandatory five-day self-isolation and a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.

All health zones are currently in the Orange level of recovery as part of the province’s mandatory order. Details on the updated Orange level are available online.

Also pulled from the GNB website, the changes to the Yellow phase include the following:

  • Residents will be allowed to expand their steady 10 to a steady 15 list of contacts. They may visit venues together, including dining out at restaurants.
  • Sports teams will be allowed to play within their league across zones, following their operational plan. Tournaments or larger events within a zone may be permitted, subject to approval of the plan.
  • Formal indoor gatherings will be permitted with an operational plan in place as long as the venue is at 50 per cent capacity or less and physical distance can be maintained.
  • Formal and informal outdoor gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be permitted with physical distancing in place.

A complete overview of the updated Yellow level guidelines are available online.

Higgs added visitation to long term care facilities would also be permitted once residents and staff have been fully vaccinated.

He said as of today, some 11,000 New Brunswickers have been fully vaccinated, and over this coming weekend, planned clinics will see another 8,800 residents and staff of long term care facilities receive the vaccine.

Higgs said based on encouraging news on the procurement of vaccines in Canada, he is confident saying as a New Brunswicker, if you want a vaccine, you will get it.

There is one new case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick today.

The case is in Zone 1 (Moncton region), is an individual 20-29, and is travel related. The individual is self-isolating.

As of today, the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,428. Since Thursday, Feb. 25, nine people have recovered for a total of 1,360 recoveries. There have been 26 deaths, and the number of active cases is 41. One patient is in intensive care. Yesterday, 858 tests were conducted for a total of 227,392.

For updates and details on COVID-19 in New Brunswick, go to the GNB website.