2 new coronavirus cases identified in New Brunswick, pandemic task force created

As of Monday, two new cases of novel coronavirus were identified in New Brunswick, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 103.

At a press briefing, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said the new cases are of individuals in the Moncton region in their 30s and 40s. Both are connected to previous known cases.

“We are fairing better than other jurisdictions…hospital admission is relatively few,” said Russell.

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“Community transmission is relatively rare and that’s why we shouldn’t relax,” she added.

Russell stressed on continuing to maintain social distancing, avoiding gatherings and thoroughly washing hands.

Premier Blaine Higgs, who was also at the press briefing, also announced that a pandemic task force has been established by the provincial government to help combat COVID-19.

Higgs said the task force will be vested with decision-making authority about the pandemic response for all aspects of the health-care system, including the regional health authorities, Extra-Mural and Ambulance New Brunswick, primary care, and the long-term care system.

“We need to empower, expedite and facilitate the essential workers who are putting themselves at risk to protect us all,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “This approach will implement actions and deploy resources across all aspects of the health-care system.”

The task force consists of Dr. Gordon Dow, infectious disease specialist of Horizon Health Network; Dr. Nicole LeBlanc, chief of staff of Vitalité Health Network; Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health; and Gérald Richard, deputy minister of Health.

In a statement released on Monday, the province also said that a clinical group of experts with relevant practice experience will be called upon as appropriate to provide advice that will inform or validate the decisions of the task force.

“The situation demands that the province be able to react rapidly and effectively to ensure we minimize the impacts of this insidious virus on our citizens,” said Health Minister Hugh J. Flemming, who attended the press briefing.

“This task force has been granted clear authority to ensure timely and effective decisions are made in real time.”

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