COVID-19 goes 0-for-490 in N.B. as province extends state of emergency 14 days
HALIFAX -- COVID-19 was 0-for-490 in New Brunswick on Wednesday and the credit for that belongs to New Brunswickers, says Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health.
"This is good news, but we must not lose focus, the efforts you have made to this date have brought us to this place," Russell said during a news conference in Fredericton on Thursday.
She said there were no new cases after the province conducted 490 tests on Wednesday.
The province's total remains at 117. Of the 117 cases previously confirmed, 66 are travel-related, 42 are close contacts of confirmed cases and nine are the result of community transmission.
During the pandemic, 13 people have been hospitalized and seven have since been discharged. Three of the six patients remaining in hospital are in an intensive care unit.
To date, 80 people have recovered.
"We must not lose focus," said Russell. "We need to maintain the barriers to the spread of infection that we have built over the last month. We cannot take a break from these actions. They remain very important in protecting the health of all New Brunswickers."
This includes frequent and thorough hand-washing, staying home as much as possible, maintaining physical distancing when you do go out for essential items, and wearing a face-covering, if possible.
"This is how we are succeeding right now," Russell said.
The province also announced that it is extending its state of emergency for another 14 days.
Cabinet and the all-party cabinet committee approved the extension after meeting on Wednesday evening.
"We will extend the declaration every 14 days until we are confident we do not need the emergency powers to impose restrictions to slow the spread of this infection," said Premier Blaine Higgs.
Some parts of the emergency order have also been modified to ensure that residents and business owners understand what they can and cannot do, Higgs said.
One clarification is for restaurants offering takeout, which must ensure physical distancing of customers who are on the premises waiting for their food. Another is that property owners must make sure there are no gatherings on their property.
"We have been listening closely to the feedback of New Brunswickers throughout this evolving situation," said Higgs. "We have received a number of requests for changes to the emergency order that could make life a little bit easier during these difficult times. However, there are some requests that we still cannot accommodate because the goal of keeping New Brunswickers safe and healthy must remain our top priority."
This story will be updated.