New Brunswick COVID-19 Update, March 23

FREDERICTON (GNB) – No new cases of Covid-19 were reported today in the province. Currently, New Brunswick has 17 cases. All cases are related to international travel or to a confirmed case that has travelled outside the province.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, thanked New Brunswickers for their continuing efforts to reduce the spread of the disease and noted the many sacrifices being made to slow the progress of the disease.

She also saluted the efforts of health-care professionals and others working in the health-care system.

“We have to protect our health-care workers, so they can carry on with this important work,” said Dr. Russell. “When we take actions to limit the spread of this disease, among those we are protecting are the front-line workers that are so valuable in this situation. When you stay home and practice social distancing, you are not only protecting yourselves, you are protecting the people who may soon be saving your life.”

Russell also announced that the laboratory at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton is now able to give final confirmation of any tests completed in New Brunswick, without the necessity of sending them to the national laboratory in Winnipeg. This will speed up the testing and confirmation process in the province. After the remaining tests that were already submitted are returned, the province will be announcing positive and negative test results without the need for a presumptive category.

“It is also important that we track those who have been in contact with others who have since become infected,” said Russell. “A case from Prince Edward Island has implications for New Brunswick. The patient was showing symptoms on March 16 when they travelled from Toronto to Moncton on WestJet flight 3456. We are confident that PEI’s public health has undertaken appropriate contact tracing but want to reiterate that anyone who travelled on that flight must immediately go into self-isolation for 14 days.”

Premier Blaine Higgs thanked businesses that are complying with the emergency declaration and mandatory order for prioritizing the health and safety of their employees, customers and all New Brunswickers.

“The Department of Public Safety has been checking businesses across the province and has found 94 per cent of them are in compliance,” said Higgs.

“No one wants to make this a law enforcement matter with charges and fines, but we are ready to do what is needed for everyone to comply,” said Higgs. “We are especially concerned with businesses operating despite the order and with individuals who are required to self-isolate who are not doing it. We are not asking you to do this lightly. We know it impacts your business. But it is imperative that non-essential businesses comply if we are going to flatten the curve.”

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

Other information related to the response to the virus includes:

Information line and email

A toll-free information line and email address, which offers services in both languages, has been set up to help answer non-health related questions, including questions about compliance with the state of emergency. The number, 1-844-462-8387, is operational seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The email address is Concerns about workplace safety should continue to be directed to WorkSafeNB.

Service New Brunswick

Service New Brunswick provides more than 400 services to the public on behalf of other government departments and agencies. The majority of these can be provided online and through Teleservices. However, some essential services must be conducted in person.

Today, a limited number of Service New Brunswick centres have reopened to provide these essential services. Customers will be screened before entering these centres and if their transaction is not essential, or can be accomplished online or by phone, they will not be permitted to enter. The essential services offered at these service centres is listed on the Service New Brunswick website.

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