FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public Health reports no new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 118; the number of active cases is four and 114 people have recovered. One person remains hospitalized and there are no patients in an intensive care unit.

The latest updates and information on confirmed COVID-19 cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick are available online.

Recovery plan phases are flexible

The province’s recently announced recovery plan contains public health alert levels that outline when various sectors will reopen and when certain activities will be permitted.

New Brunswick is transitioning to the orange phase, which is aimed at reopening social and economic settings while preventing a resurgence of transmission.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, urged New Brunswickers to continue to maintain physical distancing and appropriate hygiene practices as the province gradually moves toward reopening.

“The phase we are now entering will be, in many respects, more difficult than what we have been through so far,” said Russell. “Whether we are as successful in the next six months as we have been in the last six weeks depends entirely on you. Your actions, now more than ever, will determine what happens next.”

Premier Blaine Higgs reminded New Brunswickers that the pandemic is evolving constantly and that people must be prepared to be flexible and adjust their behaviour as needed.

“We may be able to loosen restrictions on one type of business or activity included in a certain stage while still restricting other activities that are part of the same level,” said Higgs. “This pandemic is a new experience for all of us. Things are changing every day and we are learning as we go.”

Restrictions that have been eased may be reinstated at any time to protect public health.

Helping businesses with reopening planning

Businesses that might be allowed to reopen in the weeks and months ahead are looking at how to adjust their operations, so they can conduct business safely.

“I know business owners want to do the right thing and operate safely once they are allowed to reopen,” said Higgs. “Each sector is going to have unique needs and requirements that will involve planning and activating new operational requirements.”

Businesses are encouraged to review the Guidance Document of General Public Health Measures during COVID-19 Recovery, which includes pre-screening tools, signage templates and other information.

Engagement sessions with specific sectors are being developed. These sessions will allow business owners to hear directly from officials at Public Health, WorkSafeNB and relevant government departments.

Opportunities NB will issue a webinar on May 8 about economic recovery. It will feature an expert panel providing tips and answers to common questions that businesses might have as they get ready to reopen.

Temporary foreign workers

Higgs said that, throughout this pandemic, the provincial government has acted with an abundance of caution, which has allowed New Brunswick to fare much better than other jurisdictions where less restrictive policies have been used.

“The decision to restrict temporary foreign workers from entering the province was made to protect the health and safety of New Brunswickers,” said Higgs. “We must continue to exercise caution. To do otherwise puts us all at risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Higgs said steps will be taken to help affected businesses. They include:

  • Exploring opportunities to fill vacant positions by recruiting from the 30,000 post-secondary students; 7,000 Grade 12 students about to graduate; and tens of thousands of unemployed people who have been displaced by COVID-19.
  • Looking for ways to employ temporary foreign workers who are already in the province and have also been affected by this pandemic.
  • Exploring the possibility of redeploying or calling back unemployed casual or seasonal workers from government departments to work in the fishery and agriculture sectors.

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

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