New Brunswick reports 77 new COVID-19 cases as 'winter action plan' is rolled out

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FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as the province prepared to enter the first phase of its so-called winter action plan.

The province will enter Level 1 of the plan as of Sunday, which is the least restrictive of the three tiers.

Among other things, masking will be required outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Physical distancing will also be mandatory in indoor public spaces that do not require proof of vaccination, such as retail stores, malls, salons and spas.

A maximum of 20 people is permitted for informal indoor household gatherings, and 50 for informal outdoor gatherings.

And it is recommended that unvaccinated individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated should not attend household gatherings.

"Physical distancing helps limit the spread of COVID-19,” Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

"This means keeping a safe distance from others who are not part of your regular contacts and avoiding spending time in crowded places or in large groups."

The province's number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 722 as of Saturday, which included 51 people in hospital — 16 of them in intensive care.

Eighteen of the hospitalized patients were initially admitted for other reasons and contracted COVID-19 due to outbreaks at hospitals in Moncton, Saint John and Miramichi.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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