New Brunswick will lift all COVID restrictions next Friday and go green – whether or not the province meets vaccination targets, Premier Blaine Higgs said.
This means all travel and public health restrictions will be lifted and masks will not be needed, he said at a COVID-19 briefing on Friday.
“We exceeded our target of 75 percent of the eligible population with their first vaccine and we are now at 81 percent,” Higgs said.
“By the end of next week, the percentage of eligible New Brunswickers vaccinated with the second dose will be high enough to offset many of the risks of living with COVID-19. With our experiences of the past 17 months, the low number of cases and increasing vaccination rates, we believe we can safely take this next step and learn to live with COVID-19 without the mandatory order. “
Russell said she is confident that even when the mandatory order is lifted, there are enough public health measures available to her to manage the risks of COVID-19 if cases start to rise again.
The restrictions will be lifted as of midnight next Friday evening, even if the province does not meet its goal of getting two doses of vaccine for 75% of those eligible before moving to the green phase.
The province announced that the lifting of the mandatory order:
Remove all mandatory travel and public health restrictions that were in place during the pandemic, which hit New Brunswick in March 2020.
End all provincial border restrictions, end provincial border controls and end the registration requirement to enter New Brunswick from anywhere in Canada.
Lift all limits on gatherings and the number of people in different facilities. Capacity limits in theaters, restaurants and shops will no longer be necessary.
End the requirement to wear face masks in public.
Higgs said he doesn’t think the province is rushing too quickly to lift the restrictions.
He said that “the case to maintain a mandatory order, an emergency order, no longer exists”.
Higgs said the province is trying to strike a balance between keeping people safe and keeping the province open as much as possible.
With so few cases, such high vaccination rates, and no one in the hospital, he said it was difficult to sell the emergency order.
Russell said she is encouraged by the Alberta experience. This province lifted the restrictions when it was at 70% of the first doses and 38.2% of the second doses.
“And since then they have continued to increase their immunization rates and… they continue to see their number of cases go down and their hospitalization rates go down.”
Some may not be ready
As mandatory restrictions will be lifted, some people and businesses may not be ready to revert to pre-COVID habits, Russell said. She and the Premier urged New Brunswickers to be kind and patient with those who may not be ready, for physical or psychological reasons.
“When we go green, not everyone will feel ready to come back to life as if nothing had happened,” Higgs said. “We will all have to adapt in our own way to this new environment
“For some, the return to normal will be at a rapid pace. Others may want to relax the security measures that we have been surrounded for so long. There is no right way to do it. has to do what suits him best. them while staying safe. “
Some people, Higgs said, may want to continue wearing a face mask, even though the masks will not be needed after next Friday.
Russell said: “It’s important to remember that people will move on to this next phase at their own pace. And that’s okay. Some people will feel excited and eager to get back to their pre-pandemic lifestyle. . Others will experience stress, anxiety and worry for different reasons. “
A million doses
New Brunswick is expected to take a new step on Friday by administering its millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
A total of 997,798 doses have been administered to date, including 7,006 second additional doses and 1,363 first doses added Friday to the COVID-19 dashboard.
The province currently has 62.7 percent of eligible New Brunswickers aged 12 and over fully immunized and 81.2 percent who received a first dose.
Three new cases
Public Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Friday – two in the Saint John health region and one in the Fredericton area.
The two cases in Zone 2, the Saint John area, are 19 years of age and under and are both travel related.
The case in Zone 3, Fredericton area, is an individual aged 20 to 29 years. This case is under investigation.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 2,350. As of yesterday, there has been a new recovery for a total of 2,293 recoveries.
There have been 46 deaths and the number of active cases is 10. No one is hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Since yesterday, 727 tests have been carried out for a total of 376,470.
Russell on Friday said the vast majority of new cases are travel-related – and almost all of them are people who have not been fully vaccinated – and the province does a good job of handling those cases once they are. here.
“As of July 1, 16 of the 18 cases have been linked to travel,” Russell said. “And of the 16 cases, 15 were not vaccinated at all or were not fully vaccinated.”
Despite a complete halt to most surgeries at the start of the pandemic, Higgs said wait lists for surgeries are not excessively long.
“We don’t think we are that far away from what would normally have been expected because, apart from the start, hospitals, procedures and surgeries may have continued.”
In fact, he said the hip and knee surgeries were “really ahead of schedule.” He said wait times had dropped from three years to a year and a half.
“Cautiously optimistic” doctors
The New Brunswick Medical Society is “cautiously optimistic” about lifting public health restrictions.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the group’s chairman said it was important to “continue on this trajectory” by continuing to do the things that got us to this point – get vaccinated, keep washing our hands and stay home if you are sick. “
“Vaccines are our best protection – as individuals and as a community – against the virus and its variants,” said Dr Jeff Steeves.
“New Brunswickers should also feel comfortable continuing to wear masks in public places if they so choose. These are measures that can mitigate the spread of COVID-19, colds and other infectious diseases.
Mobile vaccination clinics
Russell urged those who have only had one vaccine not to stop there. She said vaccines have never been more available in the province, including with mobile and walk-in clinics.
“We know that the effectiveness is better with two doses,” she said. “And if you got your first dose, please do not skip your second dose. We need all the protection we can get. We don’t know what lies ahead of what happens in others. jurisdictions that are not vaccinated around the world. And we don’t know what variations of concern will emerge. “
Clinics are taking place today and next week at the following locations:
Four Seasons Complex, 2551 Route 111, St. Martins, today, Friday, July 23, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Ambulance New Brunswick station, 523, rue St-Jean, unit A, Saint-Léonard, today, Friday July 23, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Village Hall, 199 Main Street, Canterbury, Monday, July 26, between noon and 5 p.m.
Triple C Recreation Center, 817 Rockland Road, Rockland, Tuesday, July 27, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Juniper Community Center, 6840, route 107, Juniper, Wednesday, July 28, between noon and 4 p.m.
Recreation Center, 160 Klokkedahl Hill Rd., New Denmark, Thursday, July 29, between noon and 4 p.m.
Golden Age Club of Saint-Paul, 6532, route 515, Saint-Paul, Thursday, July 29, between noon and 6 p.m.
Knights of Columbus Hall, 22 Hallett Road, Beechwood, Friday, July 30, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
People attending a mobile vaccination clinic are asked to bring their health insurance card, a vaccination record if they are receiving their second dose, and a signed consent form.
A list of upcoming mobile and walk-in clinics is available online.
What to do if you have a symptom
People who are concerned about having COVID-19 can take an online self-assessment test.
Public health says symptoms of the disease include fever above 38 ° C, new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, new onset of fatigue and difficulty. respiratory.
In children, symptoms also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with any of these symptoms should stay home, call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor and follow the instructions.