New Brunswick lifts lockdown in Zone 4; moves Moncton region from red to orange alert level
HALIFAX -- New Brunswick is lifting the lockdown in the Edmundston region at midnight on Monday.
Zone 4 has been under lockdown for 15 days and starting Tuesday, will enter into the red alert level.
The province is also moving the Moncton region from the red alert level into the orange level.
"It does not mean the virus is eradicated," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health. "It means the risk of transmission is less than it was two weeks ago, but it is not zero."
Russell said New Brunswickers need to remain vigilant and follow public health guidelines, especially with the new variants of the novel coronavirus, which are more contagious. Three cases of the U.K. variant were confirmed in the province last week.
Russell also confirmed that there were just two new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Monday, the province's lowest total since New Year's Day. Both of the cases are in Zone 4 (the Edmundston region.)
Removing the lockdown in Zone 4 means that students can physically return to school -- and some businesses can reopen -- but contact is still limited to your own household.
In the Moncton region, spas, gyms and restaurant dining rooms can reopen, while households can add 10 close contacts to their bubble.
However, the good news came with a warning:
"Travel outside the country is definitely not recommended and we would discourage travel to other provinces at this time," Russell said. "We also want to see less moving around across New Brunswick over the March break. Our advice to all New Brunswickers is to enjoy the March break holiday, but do it close to home."
Health Minister Dorothy Shephard revealed that approximately 38 per cent of healthcare workers in the province have at least received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and likewise for 26 per cent of long-term care residents.
But, because of the shortage of vaccine, she doesn't know when other priority groups -- like those over 85 -- will get the call.
"We are so dependent on supply from the federal government that right we are focusing on priority groups for quarter one, not knowing if going to have to overflow to quarter two," Shephard said. "Over the next several weeks as we determine what that supply will look at, and using the most relevant information of the day, the task force will determine what the next priorities will be."
Although things are looking up, Russell says they are preparing for a third wave, but it's difficult to say when they might be.