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New Brunswick announces 11 new cases of COVID-19, extends state of emergency
HALIFAX -- There are 11 new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick and the province has extended the state of emergency for two more weeks.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, announced the new cases during a news conference in Fredericton on Wednesday afternoon.
This brings the province's total to 81. Russell says of 81 cases, 43 have travelled outside the province within 14 days of being diagnosed, 22 are close contacts of those people who travelled, three are cases of community transmission, and the remaining 13 cases are under investigation.
Four people are being treated in hospital and 14 people have recovered from the virus. In order to be deemed "recovered" people need to have two negative tests back to back. As of Wednesday afternoon, public health officials had conducted 500 tests in the last 24 hours.
Russell said the new cases are in four zones of the province.
- Zone 1: two cases between the ages of 20 and 59;
- Zone 2: three cases between the ages of 40 and 69;
- Zone 3: four cases between the ages of 30 and 59; and,
- Zone 5: two cases between the ages of 50 and 69.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the state of emergency has been extended for another 14 days. He said the province will re-evaluate in two weeks and it will be extended at that time if needed.
Higgs reminded people that failing to obey the emergency order has serious consequences, with fines ranging from $292.50 to $10,200.
“Most New Brunswickers understand that we are under a state of emergency and have been acting appropriately,” said Higgs. “But we are still seeing reports of people who are not taking the situation seriously. We need these people to understand that violating an order is against the law.”
Higgs once again reminded New Brunswickers of the important role they play in protecting themselves, their family, friends, and neighbours.
“Since this pandemic began, we have all been asked to make sacrifices,” said Higgs. “We need all of you to do your part. We need you to continue to stay at home and keep a safe physical distance from other people. We need you to help us flatten the curve.”
Russell also talked about the province's supply of personal protective equipment.
“I am confident we have the medical supplies we need to meet the current demands of this pandemic,” said Russell. “But we cannot afford to waste our resources. We must maintain our supplies and use them appropriately.”
Russell asks that members of the public to not obtain masks meant for the health-care sector.
Russell said it's important that people not buy equipment that they don't need. She said if people are following physical distancing guidelines and using proper hygiene, they don't need a mask.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it's important to protect those who are protecting us," Russell said. “Doctors, nurses, paramedics, lab technicians and a host of other health-care workers are working hard every day to protect us against the spread of this virus and provide care to those who become ill because of it. They are putting themselves in harm’s way for all of us and they deserve our profound gratitude.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the rush to buy personal protective equipment by the public is similar to what he referred to as the "toilet paper syndrome" which saw people stockpiling toilet paper early on in the pandemic
"You don't need a garage full of toilet paper," Higgs said, and because people were unnecessarily buying that, he said public health officials wanted to discourage people from buying up supplies that would be better suited in the hands of front-line health care workers.