New Brunswick posts another shutout; sets up web portal to deliver faster COVID-19 test results
HALIFAX -- There are no new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick again today. It's the seventh day in the last 11 that the province has reported no new cases and the province's total remains at 118.
The province did 311 tests in the last 24 hours after expanding testing guidelines last week and will continue that.
"Until there is an effective vaccine or other form of treatment, we will continue to test for COVID-19 infections," Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health said at a news conference in Fredericton on Tuesday.
Five people remain in hospital and one of them is in intensive care. 102 people have recovered.
Dr. Russell also announced that the province is setting up a "secure web portal" so that people can check on their test results online.
As of Tuesday, anyone tested at an assesment centre will be given a registration code and can access their result through the MyHealthNB website.
“With this new portal, patients will be able to access their test results faster from the safety of their home,” said Dr. Russell. “The quicker access to test results will relieve some of the stress associated with the testing process and enable those with positive tests to take immediate actions to protect the health of their family and community.”
If a person gets a positive test result, the site will provide information on self-isolation and directions on how to prevent further spread of the virus.
Dr. Russell said those with positive results will still be contacted directly by Public Health officials, who will monitor the person’s condition.
For the first time, Premier Blaine Higgs indicated recovery is on the horizon, but he wouldn't put a date on it.
"The timing would reflect what we see this week," Higgs said. "But at the end of the day, with whatever business moves forward and opens, they will have to respect the new normal guidelines. So, it's not opening as they closed, it's opening with a new norm here in New Brunswick."
Higgs says that "new norm" could include masks being worn at work. He said businesses must be able to protect employees and customers.
Dr. Russell says the crisis has been hard on families, especially with loved ones inside a nursing home.
"I know for non-COVID positive palliative patients, social development is working on making changes around that kind of visitation."
At this point, New Brunswickers should expect nursing homes, provincial borders, and schools to remain closed.
Education minister Dominic Cardy says even with the current situation, he's "comfortable" with his decision to keep schools closed.
"We've managed to come through this first wave better than nearly anywhere else in the world, and that's a testament to the fact that New Brunswickers took this seriously," Cardy said. "When it comes to putting hundreds of kids together in classes and then potentially bringing the virus back not just to themselves, but their families, their grandparents, I have absolutely no second thoughts at all about the decision to close schools for the remainder of this year."
The education department is working on a solution for the 1,000 families with unreliable access to internet. That should be announced in the coming days.