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'Long-standing traditions have to be set aside,' Russell warns New Brunswickers
HALIFAX -- With the Easter weekend approaching, Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, said our favourite traditions will have to wait until next year.
"These are not normal circumstances," Dr. Russell said. "This is not a time to visit your families or attend church services, ATV rallies, or river runs. It is the time to stay home."
She said she knows that this difficult advice to follow, but staying home will save lives.
"Long-standing traditions have to be set aside," Russell said. "You might think it’s just family, my friends, but COVID-19 virus may be an uninvited guest at your table, brought along by someone who has only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Don't let that happen."
Russell also reported three new cases, bringing the province's total to 108; 6,600 people have been tested.
Two are people aged 60 to 69 in the Fredericton region and the other is a person aged 80 to 89 in the Acadie-Bathurst region. She also said that 11 more people have recovered.
Dr. Russell acknowledges that New Brunswick is doing better than other jurisdictions in terms of case numbers, hospitalizations, and severe illness, but once again gave a caution.
"Whether this continues is up to you," Dr Russell said. "It would be tragic to see an upsurge of cases, after this weekend because people decided to have family gatherings over Easter against the advice of this office."
Dr. Russell said there are other ways to celebrate Easter and any gatherings normally held in-person can be held online. She encouraged churches to live-stream their services so people could watch from the safety of their homes.
"With your co-operation, we will make Easter and all religious observations as safe as possible for everyone," Dr. Russell said.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said it's important for everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
"The more people go out, visit friends, visit family,the longer this will drag on for all of us," Higgs said. "That is why this weekend, I won't be having Easter dinner and visiting my mother. It is why I won't be enjoying an Easter egg hunt with my grandchildren. And I won't be the only one, making these sacrifices."
Higgs reminded people of the cost of not following the rule, saying it goes beyond the cost of a ticket to what can happen to yourself.
"More New Brunswickers will get sick. Some may not survive, none of us want to see this happen," Higgs said. "This long weekend. You must do your part. This long weekend, could be a turning point for New Brunswick, this long weekend could be the one where we say new brunswickers are on the roadmap to recovery."
Higgs mentioned the case of community spread in Newfoundland where one person attended a funeral service, transmitting COVID-19 to 17 people and leading to the contamination of a total of 143 people.
"The impact if people do not obey the rules could be catastrophic," Higgs said.