FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following update on COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) was issued today by Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health:

She recommends that:

  • the provincial government focus its efforts on providing critical services, with all employees working from home wherever feasible and redeploying staff to focus on the most critical activities.
  • private sector companies encourage their employees to work from home wherever feasible and focus on critical activities.
  • child-care providers close with the exception of those that provide services to essential service workers such as health-care workers.
  • the following businesses and public spaces be closed effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, until further notice:

o   libraries;

o   museums;

o   theatres;

o   performance spaces;

o   swimming pools, spas, saunas and water parks;

o   recreational sites such as ski resorts, amusement parks, trampoline centres, etc.;

o   cinemas and arcades;

o   training centres and dance, spinning, zumba and yoga centres;

o   arenas;

o   indoor soccer centres;

o   zoos;

o   aquariums;

o   bars and discotheques;

o   restaurants that offer buffets;

o   sugar bush operations open to the public.

Public Health is also asking restaurant owners to limit the number of customers to 50 per cent of the capacity of their dining areas. Take-out orders, deliveries and drive-through services are permitted.

“It is imperative that everyone keep a distance of two metres (six feet) between themselves and others at all times,” said Russell. “Everyone must practise social distancing in all their interactions with neighbours, co-workers and fellow residents.”

Russell said there is one additional presumptive case of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the number of presumptive or positive cases in New Brunswick to seven.

The new case is a female, between 20 and 30 years old in Zone 2 (in the southern part of the province). The patient was screened, her recent travel history to Greece was confirmed and the patient was treated, tested and is in self-isolation.

Diagnostic testing confirmed the case as presumptive. Additional testing to confirm the case as a positive COVID-19 case will take place at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

“Active contact tracing is being conducted by regional public health officials. These individuals are already isolating, and Public Health officials have already taken swift action to implement effective precautions to prevent the infection from spreading,” said Russell.

The regional health authorities will be opening community assessment centres to allow those who have been identified as high risk to be tested, without going to an Emergency Department.

Individuals who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms will be directed to the assessment centres by Tele-Care 811. Once the individual has been assessed by Tele-Care, and if they require an in-person assessment, a referral will be provided to the Community Assessment Centre in their area.

It is important to note that these centres are not walk-in clinics. They are appointment based and all appointments are made through Tele-Care 811.