FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's chief medical officer says circuit breaker measures put in place this month have been effective in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations.
Provincial officials reported two new COVID-19-related deaths and 69 new cases Thursday, bringing the active case count to 549.
Dr. Jennifer Russell told a briefing that the number of new cases of the disease has been cut by 50 per cent and the number of active infections is down by nearly one-third since the measures were introduced on Oct. 8.
But she also says public health officials are concerned about the Saint John region, where the seven-day average of new cases has been rising over the last week.
Despite an overall reduction in the spread of the disease, Russell says the province is still dealing with an overburdened health-care system.
Premier Blaine Higgs said he is also concerned about the health-care system and is prepared to order public sector workers back to work in the event of a strike after negotiations with CUPE broke down Tuesday night and the union said a strike was imminent.
"I don’t take this lightly," Higgs said. "We would do it because of the same rationale that was used throughout the entire pandemic. It will be indeed for the health and safety of the province and the citizens."
CUPE represents workers in the health-care, education and public transportation sectors.
Officials announced they are extending the existing circuit breaker measures to add sections of the Saint John region, including the city of Saint John. The newest circuit breakers will go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday.
Circuit breaker rules have included limiting contacts to single households and prohibiting private indoor and outdoor gatherings as well as non-essential travel between circuit breaker regions.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press