N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 2 new cases, looser orange-phase rules take effect

·3 min read
New Brunswick's loosened orange-phase rules are now in effect. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
New Brunswick's loosened orange-phase rules are now in effect. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

New Brunswickers can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect at midnight.

The province reported two new cases on Saturday as the active total continues to drop. The new cases are people in their 70s in the Edmundston region (Zone 4).

There are 41 total active cases across New Brunswick, with two additional recoveries announced Saturday. One person is hospitalized and in intensive care related to the virus.

Residents can now go between orange zones for non-essential trips and include people from other regions as part of their steady 10 contacts.

Hospital visits are also permitted as of Saturday with public health measures in place.

The change follows several instances of family members unable to see ill or dying relatives. In one situation, an 80-year-old was kicked out of the hospital for holding her husband's hand.

Under the revised orange rules, compassionate travel exemptions to attend a funeral will be offered to people living outside New Brunswick. People will need approval from Public Health and must adhere to guidelines that include a five-day self-isolation and negative test upon arrival.

The province announced the looser restrictions at a news conference on Friday.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province chief medical officer of health, said a return to the less-restrictive yellow phase could be just over a week away if the decline in cases continues.

She said rules will be modified due to the presence of COVID variants.

"The fewer contacts each person has, the better," Russell said. "This is so very important."

Public Health has updated and loosened some of the orange phase rules as of Friday.
Public Health has updated and loosened some of the orange phase rules as of Friday.

People will be asked to limit their contacts to a steady 15 under the yellow phase, which can include those living in other health zones.

New Brunswick reported 1,430 total cases of COVID-19 in Saturday's update. There have been 1,362 recoveries and 26 deaths.

Public Health has conducted 228,219 tests, including 827 on Friday.

More vaccine arrives

New Brunswick has a larger supply of COVID-19 vaccine after additional shipments arrived this week.

The province received more than 11,000 doses, according to the latest numbers from the federal government.

Those shipments boost the total number of doses to 46,775, including 36,075 of Pfizer-BioNTech and 10,700 of Moderna.

Another 9,360 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive next week.

Play to resume for N.B. teams in QMJHL

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced plans to resume the season for New Brunswick teams after the pandemic put their games on pause.

The province's three teams will be allowed to compete against each other starting the week of March 8. A new schedule is expected to be released next week, and fans will be allowed at arenas.

The league said the decision follows meetings with Public Health and government and that the situation will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:

  • A fever above 38 C.

  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough.

  • Sore throat.

  • Runny nose.

  • Headache.

  • New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.

  • Difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should:

  • Stay at home.

  • Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.

  • Describe symptoms and travel history.

  • Follow instructions.