People in Maritime border towns feel like COVID-19 is closing in around them
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. -- Residents in Maritime border towns and islands say they feel like COVID-19 is closing in on them and people on Campobello Island are closely watching as cases in neighboring Maine increase.
Maine has more cases than ever before, reporting over 244 more cases on Friday and adding three more COVID-19 related deaths.
"Another reminder, that the virus is everywhere among us," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, te director of the Maine Center For Disease Control And Prevention. "In places where it was previously spreading in low levels, we have now found it to be spreading in very high levels."
But across the border, New Brunswick saw just two cases on Friday. Both cases are under investigation.
Dr. Jennifer Russell has repeated that most cases are travel-related, but there are some New Brunswickers who don't have much choice about whether to travel.
Campobello Island is intimately connected to Maine.
Residents cross the international bridge to get gas or go to doctor's appointments and some work in Maine.
Their ferry to mainland New Brunswick, which costs $54 roundtrip, will end for the winter season in two weeks, but residents have been fighting to get it year round.
"Campobello really becomes totally inaccessible and that needs to change and it needs to be a priority for government's both in Fredericton and in Ottawa," said resident Justin Tinker.
David Coon has been advocating for a year-round ferry.
He says in the pandemic, it's even more critical.
"They've been forced into a bubble with Maine, and that's dangerous!" Coon said."The people from Campobello will not be able to have their MLA come visit them. Their MP won't be able to go visit them, even the premier or prime minister of this country will not be able to go visit them in their community, in their region of this province, where they live. It's unprecedented."
Campobello Island residents are required to register with New Brunswick public health when they leave the island to go to Maine.
There are now 14 active cases of the virus in New Brunswick.
As of Friday, visitors from outside the country can visit immediate family membersin New Brunswick, but they have to self-isolate upon arrival.