FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public Health reports no new cases of COVID-19 Friday, April 17, 2020.

Of the 117 cases previously confirmed, 66 are travel-related, 42 are close contacts of confirmed cases and nine are the result of community transmission.

During the pandemic, 13 people have been hospitalized and eight have since been discharged. Three of the five patients remaining in hospital are in an intensive care unit.

To date, 83 people have recovered.

Continued vigilance necessary

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said these results are encouraging but warned that the gains the province has made could quickly be lost if the public does not remain vigilant in preventing the spread of the virus.

She urged New Brunswickers to continue to stay at home as much as possible, and to keep interactions brief when they go out. She said it remains important for people to practise physical distancing, and she suggested wearing a non-medical mask that covers the mouth and nose when physical distancing is not possible.

New Brunswickers are urged to continue to monitor themselves and their families for the symptoms of COVID-19:

  • fever above 38°C;
  • a new cough or worsening chronic cough;
  • sore throat;
  • runny nose; and
  • headache.

Anyone experiencing two or more of these symptoms should contact 811 and follow the direction provided.

“If we all remain vigilant against this disease, and consistent in our practices to limit its spread, we can continue to have good outcomes,” said Russell. “If we let down our guard, the virus will take advantage and resume its spread through our communities. We have seen the tragic consequences of this in other jurisdictions around the world. No one wants that to happen here.”

Premier Blaine Higgs echoed her comments.

“We cannot make the mistake of going back to our regular lives too early,” said Higgs. “If we do, we could see a resurgence of cases. We all have to continue to play our part.”

Higgs said that even when the current restrictions are reduced, it will not be business as usual.

“We are not at the point where non-essential businesses can reopen, but it is important that they take these factors into account as they plan for the future,” said Higgs. “I encourage business leaders to start considering how they can reopen once it’s safe to do so, while taking new measures to protect the health of their patrons.”

Higgs shared the same message during a conference call with municipal leaders earlier today. He answered questions about the eventual economic recovery and addressed their concerns.

Higgs told the mayors that some festivals and celebrations in the summer months are likely to be cancelled or postponed this year.

Legislative amendments passed

Higgs highlighted the collaboration of all the political parties represented in the legislative assembly to pass legislation to protect New Brunswickers.

Legislative amendments to the Emergency Measures Act were passed to ensure the government can continue to deliver enhanced measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

One amendment provides authority to allow the government to quickly set up child-care centres for the children of essential service workers, if needed. These changes are necessary in areas where these workers have had difficulty in obtaining child care.

Amendments were also made to the Employment Standards Act to address issues related to leaves of absences due to a state of emergency.

“Together, the leaders of the four provincial parties represented in the legislative assembly and our municipal leaders need to forge a direction for this province,” Higgs said. “This will be very important moving forward. No matter which party comes into power in the future, there must be a road map for recovery, independent of partisan politics, and agreed upon by all.”

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

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