Eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick
There are eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, bringing the provincial total to 26.
At a press conference Wednesday in Fredericton, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell says all the new illnesses are travel related, or involve close contact with someone who has travelled.
The new cases are broken down as follows:
- Zone 1 (Southeast): 3 cases (aged 50-60, 30-40 and 60-70);
- Zone 2 (South): 3 cases (aged 50-60, 10-20 and 20-30);
- Zone 3 (Central): 1 cases (aged 30-40);
- Zone 4 (Northwest): 1 case (aged 30-40);
Dr. Russell noted as of yesterday, the province has expanded testing to anyone who has travelled outside of provincial borders in the last 14 days, in order to capture a broader range of the population.
She added testing is being ramped up to see if any community transmission is occurring in the province, and reiterated that staying home and practicing physical distance is the best defence against COVID-19.
Dr. Russell quoted "leading authorities" as saying we could be dealing with the impacts of this virus for the next 18 to 24 months.
Public Health has tested 1700 people in New Brunswick so far, and the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton is capable of testing 600 cases a day, with the goal of expanding capacity to 1000 tests a day.
Presumptive cases no longer need to be sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for confirmation.
At the same press conference, Premier Blaine Higgs announced that as of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, all travellers entering New Brunswick must self-isolate for 14 days and all non-essential travel into the province is prohibited.
The Premier added border checks will be implemented at border points with Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, travellers' identities will be verified and destinations will be tracked, including those who are not stopping in New Brunswick.
Higgs also clarified the province's position on suspending evictions due to non-payment of rent.
He said while a landlord cannot evict someone for not paying rent before May 31, tenants are still required to pay rent and must make arrangements with their landlords to continue to do so.
(With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown)