New Brunswick announces presumptive COVID-19 case involving boy
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s medical officer of health, provides an update on COVID-19 during a news conference on March 17, 2020.
HALIFAX -- There is another presumptive case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick – this time involving a child.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Russell says the child is a boy under the age of 10. He lives in zone 3, or central New Brunswick. He is a close contact to one of the two confirmed travel-related cases in the province.
Russell says the boy is self-isolating.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick to eight. Six of those cases are presumptive and two have been confirmed.
P.E.I. woman with COVID-19 was on a Moncton-bound plane
New Brunswick is preparing for the possibility of more cases, as Prince Edward Island’s only confirmed case of COVID-19 could have an impact on the province.
The woman, who is in her 50s, was on a cruise ship and then took WestJet flight 3440 from Toronto to Moncton on March 7.
“They had mild symptoms on that flight and New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are both making sure that not just those who were in the rows near that person, but everyone on that flight is aware,” said Russell.
Russell is asking anyone who was on that flight to call 811 and to self-isolate.
As the number of cases continues to rise, the province is urging citizens to stay home in an effort to reduce direct contact with others and to only go out for essentials.
The provincial government says it’s taking a number of steps to address the impact of COVID-19 in the province. As of Wednesday, only public-sector workers who work in critical functions or areas that support critical functions will remain on the job.
The following changes are also being made:
The Department of Health has authorized physicians to see their patients “virtually” for routine services, such as prescription renewals and providing follow-up health advice, in an effort to allow 811 health-care professionals to support more people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Patients can receive care and advice over the phone or through secure video-chat software.
The same provisions have also been authorized for psychiatrists who provide mental health services.
The province says these measures will allow patients to continue receiving care while also practising social-distancing.
Visitation continues to be restricted at nursing homes and hospitals in an effort to protect people over the age of 70, who are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
Starting Tuesday, the Department of Social Development is introducing an urgent nursing home placement process to move 65 individuals currently in hospital beds into nursing homes around the province.
The province says they will be moved into a nursing home that provides services in their language of choice within 100 kilometres of their permanent address.
The province says this will free up dozens of hospital beds and allow for health-care workers to address the needs of people facing serious illness.
Some New Brunswick businesses have had to close temporarily, but Premier Blaine Higgs says grocery stores and pharmacies have access to supplies and will remain open.
Higgs is calling on banks to consider what they can do to help small businesses stay afloat, and says he is working directly with the federal government to ensure there is a coordinated approach to assist small businesses and individuals who need help.
Child-care facilities that are remaining open to support essential-service workers will be required to reduce group sizes and practise social-distancing. They are also required to follow strict health and safety directives.
Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada is asked to avoid early learning and child-care centres for a period of 14 days.
Information for essential service workers on how to access child care services is now available through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Parent Portal or by calling 1-833-221-9339.
The New Brunswick legislature resumed for less than an hour Tuesday, with only 15 MLAs, each keeping their distance.
Several pieces of legislation were passed, including legislation to postpone the municipal elections planned for May for up to a year.
The legislation will also make it possible to postpone the provincial byelections, if necessary.
The House has risen until further notice in an effort to reduce interactions among members of the legislative assembly – the government saying it is leading by example by highlighting the importance of social distancing.
New Brunswick has closed public access to all correctional facilities in the province.
The restriction includes all members of the public, including inmates’ family members, volunteers and legal representatives.
Inmates will be offered extra phone calls.