N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Moncton airport passenger tests positive for coronavirus
At afternoon briefing, province reports no new cases in New Brunswick for 16th straight day
- No new cases of COVID-19 announced Monday afternoon
- Next phase of recovery to be announced this week
- New Brunswick sees surge in weekend crime
- Province launches job-matching platform
- Province to release plan for distance learning
- What to do if you have symptoms
A person passing through the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport late last month has tested positive for COVID-19.
The airport announced on Facebook that the individual was a passenger on WestJet flight 3456.
Julie Pondant, a spokesperson for the airport, said the individual was travelling from Toronto and arrived in Moncton at 1:52 p.m. on April 27.
News of the passenger with COVID-19 came not long after a coronavirus briefing in Fredericton, when no new cases of the respiratory disease in New Brunswick were reported.
Pondant said she didn't know whether the passenger was a New Brunswicker heading to somewhere in the province or someone travelling on to Prince Edward Island or Nova Scotia.
"If you or anyone you have been in close contact with was on this flight, please self-isolate for 14 days," the airport said on Facebook. "If you develop symptoms, call 811."
No other details about the case were available, including how many others were on the flight. Pondant said it was a Public Health matter.
"We are looking into it," said Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for the Department of Health.
Macfarlane said the airport was informed about the WestJet flight by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, the federal agency said Public Health in New Brunswick is collecting all the information necessary for the followup of other possible cases through contact tracing.
"Details relating to a case are considered private and cannot be shared."
At Monday's news briefing, Premier Blaine Higgs again emphasized that protecting provincial borders will be key to the next phase of economic recovery, when more businesses will be allowed to reopen.
He said the province will strengthen control over who gets into the province if necessary to minimize the risk of COVID-19.
"It is clear our risk is at our borders," he said.
No new cases of COVID-19 announced Monday afternoon
There have been no cases of the novel coronavirus in New Brunswick since Saturday, and all 118 people diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus have recovered.
"We have flattened the curve in New Brunswick," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical health officer, said during Monday's news briefing.
But Premier Blaine Higgs said New Brunswickers should expect to see more cases in the future.
"Our province continues to be surrounded by COVID-19," he said.
Next phase of recovery to be announced this week
The start of the next phase of recovery could be announced as early as Friday and involves the reopening of businesses under strict controls.
Premier Blaine Higgs said society needs to reopen, but everyone must keep in mind there's a health risk that hasn't yet been resolved.
"If the people of the province do not engage in a way that's meaningful to ensure that our public health rules are followed, we could regress."
WorkSafeNB will be visiting businesses and law enforcement will continue to perform compliance checks.
"This isn't about avoiding a speeding ticket, this is about avoiding a health risk."
In the week leading up to this step, the province has decided to reduce the number of times Higgs and other officials brief the public on the outbreak. Briefings will now happen three times a week instead of five.
New Brunswick sees weekend surge in violent crime
At the beginning of his remarks at the coronavirus briefing Monday, Premier Blaine Higgs addressed a surge in violent crimes, including homicide, over the weekend.
"My thoughts are with each of the families who have been impacted by these terrible events," he said.
Higgs said he has asked for reports from the Department of Public Safety and police officials as the investigations continue.
New Brunswick RCMP are treating the death of a 26-year-old man from Waterborough as a homicide following an overnight standoff in an Upper Gagetown home where the body of another man was discovered.
Calvin Andrew Lewis, 49, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Tina Tingley-McAleer, a 43-year-old woman from Hillsborough.
A 29-year-old man died at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton on Saturday morning after being shot.
RCMP are investigating human remains found in a wooded area in Lakeville Saturday, a community just outside of Moncton.
That same day, a man was also shot in the leg in Speerville, just outside of Woodstock and taken to hospital.
Saint John police are also investigating a shooting that sent two people to hospital on Sunday morning.
During the state of emergency called because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Higgs said, the province has emphasized that shelters for victims of domestic violence remain open.
"I can't make any prejudgment on this particular rash of incidents this weekend, but I'm certainly very anxious to hear the police reports and investigations. And to understand what else could be done in any situation to avoid any future incident."
The state of emergency, declared March 19, led to the closure of businesses all over the province and called for people to stay in their own homes as much as possible. Since then, Higgs and Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, have addressed both mental health and domestic violence issues and encouraged New Brunswickers to seek help if necessary.
Province launches job-matching platform
JobMatchNB, a virtual job-matching platform, was launched Monday to connect New Brunswickers with available positions. Employers can add jobs into the system and they will appear on the site within a few days.
Last week, the New Brunswick government announced a ban on any temporary foreign workers entering the province.
With 70,000 unemployed New Brunswickers and students in the province, Higgs has said it should be possible to fill the approximately 600 farm and fish plant vacancies in agriculture and fish processing.
"We need New Brunswickers to step up for New Brunswick to fill these positions," he said. "By stepping up, you will be playing an important role in helping your community, and our province's economy."
Province to release plan for distance learning
A plan to strengthen New Brunswick's distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be announced this week, New Brunswick's education minister says.
And Dominic Cardy suggests it is designed to be used next fall if needed.
This comes after the province announced at the end of April that New Brunswick students will not be returning to the classroom until at least September.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak forced schools to close in March, students have been learning from home, with more structured lesson plans that were rolled out throughout the month of April.
However, some parents have raised concerns over a lack of technology available to students. Cardy said this will be addressed this week.
"We're going to make sure that every single student in New Brunswick has access to the internet and to technology that will allow them to work from home and continue to continue their education from home."
Cardy wouldn't offer specifics on the plan, but he did say it would help students even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
With the end of the school year approaching, Cardy said, it made sense to end class learning early to eliminate any ambiguity for parents and students.
While the plan is to go back to schools in September, Cardy said COVID-19 likely means parents and students will have to adjust to periods of homeschooling again.
"We fully expect to go back and forth."
At Monday's news conference, Premier Blaine Higgs said the province will be ready to resume the education plan this fall whether the province is still in a COVID crisis or not.
"We want our kids to continue their education," he said
What to do if you have symptoms
People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website. People with two of those symptoms are asked to:
Stay at home.
Immediately call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor
Describe symptoms and travel history.
With files from Jordan Gill