Public Health officials in New Brunswick reported another 20 cases of COVID-19 in the province Sunday, just hours after one of the province’s hardest-hit areas began a 14-day lockdown.
Nine of the new cases are in the newly locked-down Edmundston region which now has 144 of the province’s 334 active cases.
Ten of the new cases are in the Moncton region and there is one new case in the Miramichi area.
Health officials say the Edmundston lockdown is needed to curb a rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control.
As of now, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders Maine and Quebec’s Bas-St-Laurent region.
The order also forces non-essential businesses, schools and public spaces to close, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills.
Provincial officials say they will evaluate the situation in the region every seven days, and cabinet may extend the lockdown if necessary.
New Brunswick has had 1,124 COVID-19 cases and 13 related deaths since the pandemic began.
Five people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.
“We will be more confident in our decision making, and zone restrictions are more likely to be eased, if more New Brunswickers, in all health zones, who have symptoms get tested,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said Sunday in a statement.
The Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton regions are in the red level of the province’s pandemic recovery plan, with the rest of the province at the orange level.
A handful of schools in the province are also poised to make the move to remote learning amid the surge in local infections.
Monday will be an operational response day at Andover Elementary School, Perth-Andover Middle School and Southern Victoria High School in Perth-Andover, as well as Donald Fraser Memorial School and Tobique Valley High School in Plaster Rock.
Students in those schools will learn from home starting Tuesday.
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