N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Province to share update on 2nd new case | CBC News

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Province to share update on 2nd new case | CBC News

New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health has announced one new case of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number of active cases to two.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, confirms second active case of COVID-19 in the province. (Government of New Brunswick/Submitted)

Latest

  • Local businesses want province to let them reopen too
  • Province to share virus update Wednesday 
  • Residents concerned over extra traffic in Shediac area 
  • New case of COVID-19 not surprising, epidemiologist says 
  • What to do if you have symptoms

New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health has announced one new case of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number of active cases to two.

The latest case is travel-related and involves a person between the ages of 20 and 29 in Zone 2, which is the Saint John region, said Dr. Jennifer Russell. 

The individual had come into contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19 in Ontario. Under the border-crossing rules, the New Brunswick resident had to go into self-isolation on returning to the province and had no contact with other people before being tested.

Russell said the case that was announced Tuesday is still under investigation and it’s not known yet if it’s travel-related or a community transmission.

Russell also provided more information about a person who landed at the Moncton airport last week who had tested positive for COVID-19.

That individual was tested in Alberta, she said, and was no longer contagious on the flight to New Brunswick.

“They had finished their self-isolation after their diagnosis,” she said.

Russell didn’t say how long that person was in New Brunswick or where the person went on leaving the airport. News of the case came from the airport originally.

“What we’re doing as an after action is to just go through the processes and communication issues around that just to make sure we’re all clear and that doesn’t happen again,” she said. 

New Brunswick has had 120 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 118 people have since recovered from the disease. The province had no confirmed active cases between Saturday and Tuesday.

Russell has said people should expect there will be more cases and must stay vigilant as the province starts to reopen.

“It’s about setting expectations,” she said. “So if the public understands and is able to internalize the fact that we are going to be living with COVID-19 for 18 to 24 months until there’s a vaccine, we’re pretty much past mile one of a 26-mile marathon.

Local businesses want province to let them reopen too

New Brunswick businesses are ready to reopen — they’re just waiting for the province to give them the green light, the Retail Council of Canada says.

Earlier this week Premier Blaine Higgs said businesses could be allowed to open in the next phase of recovery as early as Friday, as long as they’re following orders from public health.

“If you are a retailer that’s not doing things the right way, it won’t be long before that message is out there on social media,” said Jim Cormier, the Atlantic director for the Retail Council of Canada.

“It’s not going to be good for your business in the long term. People won’t be showing up to shop in your store if they don’t feel safe and confident when they’re in there.”

The new rules could include everything from Plexiglas booths for cashiers to more signs in retail stores.

Cormier said some employees have expressed concerns about returning to work during a pandemic, even if New Brunswick has seen a relatively low number of cases.

These concerns have been countered with additional worries over what impact a prolonged closure could do to some businesses.

Businesses across New Brunswick are hoping the province will loosen more restrictions this week and allow them to reopen. (Photo: Mike Heenan/CBC News)

Cormier said employees have rights when it comes to safe workplaces, and there are procedures in place to address unsafe conditions.

“That can all be dealt with through, you know, in this case speaking to WorkSafeNB,” he said.

“They would send a person into the workplace to say ‘OK, well the employee has a point here or no they don’t and these are the changes that should be made to ensure that there is a safe workplace.'”

Jim Cormier, Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada, says consumers can expect to see more Plexiglas booths for cashiers and signage at retail stores in the future. (CBC)

Scientific consensus is that a vaccine for COVID-19 would not be available until sometime next year at the earliest.

But Cormier said some new practices may continue even after COVID-19.

“I think you’re going to see going forward the retail floor space will be changed forever and that there will be more spacing to ensure people can be physically distant,” said Cormier.

“You know the Plexiglas barriers at the cash, those might end up becoming the new norm.”

Residents concerned about extra traffic in Shediac area 

Plenty of New Brunswickers were out and about in the warm weather last weekend, causing an uptick in traffic in the Shediac area.

As part of loosening restrictions last month, the province reopened parks and beaches, including Parlee Beach.

However, the province did not reopen the main road heading into the park, Parlee Beach Road, which connects the beach directly with the twined Route 15.

This led to travellers to take smaller streets in residential areas to get to the beach, which turned into a headache for residents. 

“We were bumper-to-bumper traffic,” said Fred Durette of Pointe-du-Chêne.

After Premier Blaine Higgs banned temporary foreign workers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, farmers lost some of their best workers and are struggling to keep up. 4:50

“Nobody could get into Shediac to get their groceries or get their drugs because everybody was coming from Moncton and wherever to go for a little drive.”

Durette said the traffic woes were multiplied because people were also trying to go to the Pointe-du-Chêne wharf, which is still closed.

Durette said residents of the community are upset and feel if the province wanted to reopen the park, it should have also reopened the road.

As the province begins to loosen restrictions at provincial parks, more people were visiting Parlee Beach over the weekend. (Paul Hantiuk/CBC)

“People love to come here and we love having people here, but right now this little community — which borders the park and the beach, and borders the road to the wharf, with a road in the middle — is suffering when we’re stifled like that with people.”

Durette said he was also concerned about possible COVID-19 spread, as he witnessed many people not observing physical distancing rules.

“We watch groups of students go to the beach arm-in-arm with beer in their hand, hauling their coolers,” said Durette.

“There are no social distancing at all.”

New case of COVID-19 not surprising, epidemiologist says 

Colin Furness, an epidemiologist based in Toronto, said New Brunswickers shouldn’t be too concerned about a new case popping up, especially after more than two weeks with no new cases.  

He said a pattern of new cases would be more concerning. 

“It would have been surprising if you’d hit absolute flat zero and never come off it. … Some people may be sick mildly for a while before they seek help. So this is not concerning at all.”

He said the rest of the country will be looking at New Brunswick to see what a new normal might look like following the pandemic.

This could include keeping store hours shorter, relying on takeout instead of dining in, and continued restrictions on travel.

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, says it would be surprising if New Brunswick did not see new cases. (University of Toronto)

He also expects to see changes in the design of cubical-based office spaces and closed quarters of factory lines.

One thing he’s also hoping will change is the traditional handshake greeting. 

“Handshaking is a really deep seated human behaviour,” he said. “It’s also a really risky behaviour as we now know.”

The province’s ability to reopen will be based on how effectively it can restrict New Brunswick’s border crossings. Furness even suggested only allowing people to come into the province who have been tested 

“I think you could open up wide right away, because you don’t have community spread.”

What to do if you have symptoms

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website.  People with two of those symptoms are asked to:

  • Stay at home.

  • Immediately call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor

  • Describe symptoms and travel history.

  • Follow instructions.

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