FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 today. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 118 and the number of active cases is 14. To date,104 people have recovered. There are five patients hospitalized, including one patient in an intensive care unit.

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

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said the test results continue to be encouraging. But she urged New Brunswickers to practise physical distancing when they go out.

Continued adherence to these practices will help prevent the re-emergence of the virus, she said.

“This is not the end,” Russell said. “I ask that you continue to observe the restrictions set under the provincial state of emergency and continue to take precautions against the spread of the virus, even when those restrictions have been eased.”

Ramadan celebrations

Russell reminded New Brunswick’s Muslim community that communal meals traditionally held to break the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan are not permitted under the current state of emergency. Only gatherings of people currently sharing a home are permitted. She suggested Muslims participate in online events that will allow them to safely practise the tenets of their faith.

Assistance to help families stay connected

The provincial government is providing nursing homes with iPads to help residents stay in contact with loved ones. Each nursing home will be provided with one iPad for each 10 residents, for a total of about 480 tablets.

The government is working with BrunNet Inc., which will be responsible for delivering the tablets to nursing homes and for providing support as needed regarding their use.

In addition, to maximize the use of the tablets, each will be equipped with a virtual care application. This feature will enable physicians to provide care to residents remotely.

“We are very pleased to announce this initiative,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.” We understand how difficult it is for nursing home residents to be cut off from their families. We hope this will give residents and staff a great option to help keep families as close as possible under the circumstances.

“Our government will explore more ways it can use these tablets to improve the lives of nursing home residents,” said Higgs. “This is just one way we are using technology to our advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Toll-free line

The toll-free information line which was set up to help answer non-health related questions, including questions about compliance with the state of emergency, has been useful. Early statistics from Service New Brunswick show that more than 8,000 calls to this line have been responded to since its launch on March 23.

The number, 1-844-462-8387, offers services in both languages and is operational seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The email address is helpaide@gnb.ca.

Depending upon the nature of the query, a caller may be directed to resources such as Opportunities NB’s Business Navigator or to WorkSafeNB. Complaints about non-compliance with the state of emergency are referred to law enforcement agencies for further review.

High level of compliance

Higgs said he is pleased to see that New Brunswickers are complying with the state of emergency order, as only in a very small number of cases has enforcement been required. As of April 20, 29 tickets had been issued across the province for violations of the order.

“The level of co-operation across New Brunswick, from law enforcement officials to the individuals patiently waiting in line at the grocery stores, is amazing,” said Higgs. “New Brunswick is on the right track and thanks to everyone’s co-operation we anticipate that we will be able to reduce some of the restrictions under the emergency order very soon.”

Open fires prohibited

New Brunswickers are reminded that under the emergency order, all open fires are prohibited until May 1. Conditions across the province vary. Even after receiving significant amounts of rain, grasslands dry very quickly and become extremely flammable. Under these conditions, a fire can spread quickly.

The ban on open fires applies to any burning where combustion products are not vented through a stack or chimney. It does not apply to stoves and barbecues that burn gaseous material or briquettes or to CSA-approved outdoor fireplaces.

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