New Brunswick health officials will move the Saint John region to the orange level of the province’s coronavirus recovery plan as the number of cases in the region has doubled in the past two days.
The decision comes a day after the Moncton region was also moved to the orange phase following a recommendation from Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health.
Orange phase for Saint John and Moncton areas
The orange phase of the recovery plan means that only a single household bubble is permitted. That single household can be extended to caregivers or immediate family members requiring support.
The province has also modified its existing guidance for the orange phase.
The revised rules mean that outdoor gatherings with physical distancing are permitted with 25 people or fewer.
Faith venues can operate under an approved COVID-19 operation plan but the province says that in-person services are limited to 50 participants or fewer depending on the size of the facility.
Unregulated health professionals, barbers, hair stylists and spas may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan. They must actively screen patrons, have enhanced barriers and closed waiting rooms.
Gyms and fitness facilities may also operate under a COVID-19 operation plan although physical distancing of two metres and masks are mandatory for “low-intensity fitness classes” such as yoga, tai chi and stretching.
For high-intensity activities such as spin, aerobics and boot camps, that physical distancing must be extended to three months.
Entertainment venues such as casinos, bingo halls, arcades and cinemas may operate under a COVID-19 operations plan although occupancy limits are set at 50 patrons or fewer, depending on the size of the venue.
On Friday the province reported nine new cases in New Brunswick, seven of which are located in Saint John. There are now 51 active cases in the province.
Russell also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Tucker Hall on the Shannex campus in Saint John.
A single case was confirmed at the facility at Tucker Hall on Thursday.
Although there are 90 residents located at Tucker Hall, Russell said that all residents and staff at the entire Shannex complex — totalling more than 400 people — are being tested for COVID-19 Friday.
N.B. reaches 400-plus cumulative cases
There have been 401 cases in the province since the pandemic began, 344 of which are considered to be resolved at this time.
Russell also told the media on Friday that there is one person in the hospital but that no one is in intensive care at this time.
There have been six deaths as a result of the coronavirus.
New Brunswick has completed 114,020 COVID-19 tests.
Russell and Higgs have repeatedly advised New Brunswickers to significantly limit travel outside of the Atlantic region, even for the holiday season, as well as limit travel in and out of the orange zones in the province.
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