FREDERICTON (GNB) – The province will enter the first phase on the path toward the Green level of the COVID-19 recovery plan, effective as of midnight tonight.

As of today, 75.1 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, one of the highest rates of any province.

“I thank everyone who has taken the time to get that first dose of the vaccine to help protect yourself, your loved ones and your community,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “You have played a huge role in helping to move our province forward.”

“Reaching our first target on our path to Green will enable us to remove some of the Public Health restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic began,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “I thank everyone who made this possible. Your willingness to participate in this vaccination campaign will make us all safer against the threat of further COVID-19 outbreaks.”

Reaching the goal of at least 75 per cent of New Brunswickers 12 and older vaccinated with the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was one of three requirements for entering the first phase. Hospitalizations in the province also had to remain low and all health zones had to remain at the Yellow alert level.

In this phase, the guidelines will include the following:

  • No isolation or testing will be required for those travelling to New Brunswick from the following select regions: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, the Avignon and Témiscouata regions of Quebec, and Cumberland County in Nova Scotia.
  • Compassionate travel will be permitted with isolation and testing requirements in place.
  • Cross border commuters and truck drivers will no longer be subject to testing and isolation requirements.
  • Other workers, including rotational workers, travelling from outside the select regions, will be required to isolate and take a COVID-19 test between days five and seven before they can discontinue isolation, unless they have an existing work-isolation plan. This is a reduction from the previous 14-day requirement and will be eliminated in Phase 2 of the Path to Green.
  • Contact with all family and friends will be permitted and restrictions will be loosened for indoor and outdoor gatherings. Indoor informal gatherings will be limited to 20 or fewer, while indoor formal gatherings can be up to 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity with an operational plan. Outdoor informal gatherings will be permitted with two metres of distancing between groups and outdoor formal gatherings are permitted at maximum capacity with two meters of distancing between groups and an operational plan.
  • Organized sporting activities will be permitted but restricted to teams based in the select regions.
  • Faith gatherings can take place with a maximum 50 per cent venue capacity and with the choir at least four metres from the congregation.

All other restrictions will remain in place, including the requirement for travel registration and the use of masks, based on a health zone’s alert level. New Brunswickers should check the rules in effect in other provinces prior to travel.

“I am grateful to the New Brunswick pharmacists and health-care workers in Horizon and Vitalité health network clinics who have played a vital role in helping us reach this goal by administering vaccines,” said Higgs. “Thanks to their incredible work over the last few months, we have been able to administer an impressive 600,000 doses to more than 520,000 people.”

The second phase of the path toward the Green level of the COVID-19 recovery plan will come into effect when 20 per cent of New Brunswickers 65 and older have received their second dose. This is assuming hospitalizations remain low and all health zones remain at the Yellow alert level.

As of today, 18 per cent of New Brunswickers 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

“We have done great things so far, but we are not done yet,” said Russell. “To have maximum protection against the COVID-19 virus, two doses of an approved vaccine are required. We need everyone who received a first dose to book an appointment for their second dose as soon as they are eligible.”

Full details about the province’s path to Green are available online.

Three new cases

Public Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 today.

The two cases in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) are as follows:

  • an individual 20-29; and
  • an individual 80-89.

One case is a contact of a previously confirmed case and the other case is under investigation.

The one case in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) is an individual 50-59. The case is a contact of a previously confirmed case.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 2,302. Since yesterday, eight people have recovered for a total of 2,171 recoveries. There have been 45 deaths, and the number of active cases is 85. Eight patients in total are hospitalized. Seven patients are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit. One patient is hospitalized out of province in an intensive care unit. Yesterday, 1,118 tests were conducted for a total of 352,506.

Updated Yellow level

All zones are in the Yellow level under the province’s mandatory order.

The Yellow level restrictions will be updated to reflect the loosened restrictions under the first phase of the path to toward the Green level of the COVID-19 recovery plan once it goes into effect at midnight tonight.