HALIFAX -- New Brunswick has seven new cases of COVID-19. They all are travel-related.

This brings the total of confirmed cases in the province to 33.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief public officer of health, announced the cases at a news conference in Fredericton on Thursday afternoon.

Russell again reminded New Brunwickers of the key role they can play in stopping the spead of COVID-19.

"Stay home as much as you can," Russell said. "By practising physical distancing, we are depriving the virus of the opportunity to spread more widely. By doing this, we are improving our chances of lessening the severity of this outbreak."

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs responded to concerns about travel restrictions that were announced this week, and how it affects people driving though New Brunswick to other provinces.

"They will be able to transit through." Higgs said.

Motorists will still be stopped and asked to provide some necessary information, which includes their destination and some contact information.

"We're not looking to delay people by hours," Higgs said. "We're talking minutes, here."

Russell cautioned people of the importance of abiding by the self-isolation guideline if they've travelled outside the province.

There is a new case on Prince Edward Island and that person travelled through Moncton, Russell said. The patient arrived on Air Transat Flight TS 2653 from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on March 18.

"They had no symptoms while travelling," Russell said.

Public health officials are asking any other New Brunswickers on that flight to contact 811 and self-isolate.

Higgs said about 25,000 to 35,000 New Brunswickers are out of work since a state of emergency was declared a week ago.

On Thursday, he outlined several things the province is doing to help people and businesses deal with financial pressures they're facing.

"We are facing a situation unlike anything we have experienced before, and we are acting swiftly to help families with their immediate needs and to bridge the financial gap for employers," said Higgs. "While the federal government has announced comprehensive measures to support employers, gaps exist in the immediate term for businesses to access the working capital needed to address cash-flow shortages."

The measures include:

  • $4.5 million in income support for workers to help bridge the gap until federal support is in place;
  • Job protection for workers;
  • Elimination of interest on WorkSafeNB assessment premiums;
  • Deferring interest and principal payments on existing Government of New Brunswick loans;
  • Up to $25 million in working capital for New Brunswick small business owners; and,
  • Up to $25 million in working capital for medium-sized to large employers.

One of the other issues people might face is price-gouging, but Higgs says major retailers have given the province a committment to not hike prices during the pandemic.

"If I learn of any price-gouging. We will have it investigated," Higgs said. "I find it very disappointing that anyone would take advantage of their friend and neighbours at a time like this, and certainly if they're in business and doing that, then likely they won't be in business very long."