3 new coronavirus cases confirmed in New Brunswick, religious gatherings restricted

Three new cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in New Brunswick on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 108.

At a press briefing, Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said the new cases are of two individuals in their 60s in the Fredericton region and one individual in their 80s in the Acadie-Bathurst region — the area’s first case.

Of the 108 cases, 60 are travel-related, 33 are close contacts of confirmed cases, six are the result of community transmission and nine remain under investigation.

Ten people were hospitalized and four have since been discharged. Four of the six patients remaining in hospital are in the intensive care unit. To date, 50 people have recovered.

Russell also announced that the province is making sure New Brunswickers have a supply of pharmaceuticals so that subscriptions will always be available.

“As there are restrictions to access to health-care providers, pharmacists are facing a surge of interactions with the public and providing emergency subscriptions,” said Russell.

She suggested that people call on pharmacists to talk about their symptoms and pick up their subscriptions outside.

Moreover, as the Easter weekend approaches, residents are reminded that as part of the state of emergency for COVID-19, restrictions are in place for all gatherings, including religious celebrations.

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Russell has directed New Brunswickers not to hold family gatherings, attend in-person religious services or hold recreational events over the Easter weekend, to avoid further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“The temptation to gather with friends and loved ones will be great this weekend,” said Russell.

“You may think, ‘It’s just my family,’ or, ‘It’s just my friends.’ But the COVID-19 virus may be an uninvited guest at your event, brought along by someone who has only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Do not let that happen.”

Premier Blaine Higgs said at the press briefing that clergy members can livestream a religious service, but individuals operating video equipment must maintain the physical distancing requirements of two metres.

“With Easter weekend approaching, it is important to remember that in-person religious services in New Brunswick are prohibited,” said Higgs. “With your co-operation, we will make Easter and all religious observations as safe as possible for everyone.”

The premier also reminded residents that many retailers will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Higgs encouraged people to make any essential purchases in advance or plan to wait until next week, and to continue to observe restrictions and physical distancing requirements.

“We are grateful for all the essential retail workers who continue to provide important services and necessities,” said Higgs. “For everyone’s safety, we ask that households choose one person to be the designated shopper whenever possible.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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