FREDERICTON (GNB) – A pandemic task force has been established by the provincial government to help combat COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

The task force will be vested with decision-making authority about the pandemic response for all aspects of the health-care system, including the regional health authorities, Extra-Mural and Ambulance New Brunswick, primary care, and the long-term care system.

“We need to empower, expedite and facilitate the essential workers who are putting themselves at risk to protect us all,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “This approach will implement actions and deploy resources across all aspects of the health-care system.”

The task force consists of Dr. Gordon Dow, infectious disease specialist of Horizon Health Network; Dr. Nicole LeBlanc, chief of staff of Vitalité Health Network; Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health; and Gérald Richard, deputy minister of Health.

A clinical group of experts with relevant practice experience will be called upon as appropriate to provide advice that will inform or validate the decisions of the task force.

“The situation demands that the province be able to react rapidly and effectively to ensure we minimize the impacts of this insidious virus on our citizens,” said Health Minister Hugh J. Flemming. “This task force has been granted clear authority to ensure timely and effective decisions are made in real time.”

More information about COVID-19 is available online.