The Fredericton region (Zone 3) will be rolled back to the orange phase at midnight Thursday night, joining the Saint John and Moncton regions in the more restrictive phase of COVID-19 recovery.
"We need concerted action and we need it now," Dr. Jennifer Russell said, noting there have been multiple new cases and cases of resulting from interactions at large gatherings.
All other health zones are in the yellow phase.
Russell said the move to orange was recommended because of high numbers of social interactions and settings, multiple exposure settings, including schools, pubs, gyms, health facilities and sports clubs, and "significant" population interaction between the Fredericton region and the two other regions already in the orange phase.
"COVID-19 continues to be present here and in the rest of the Atlantic provinces," Russell said. "Now is not the time for larger social gatherings. … In order to get orange zones back into yellow for Christmas, we need to cut non-essential activities as much as possible."
Later Thursday, Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien encouraged residents to follow Public Health regulations and noted "we are all in this together."
"This is something we hoped wouldn't happen, but now that it has, I encourage everyone to continue following the guidance of the chief medical officer of health and look out for one another," O'Brien said. "Let's all do our part and hopefully we will be able to get back to the yellow phase sooner than later."
Russell also announced 12 new cases in New Brunswick Thursday, with eight in the Saint John region, three in the Fredericton region and one in the Moncton region, as follows:
Saint John region (Zone 2):
one individual 19 and under;
one individual 20 to 29;
three people 40 to 49;
one individual 60 to 69;
one individual 80 to 89; and
one individual 90 to 99.
Fredericton region (Zone 3):
two people 19 and under; and
one individual 20 to 29.
Moncton region (Zone 1)
one individual 20 to 29.
All cases are self-isolating and under investigation. As of Thursday, there are 105 active cases in the province, and 120,145 completed tests, an increase of 1,497 from Wednesday.
All about orange: A refresher on the rules
The Fredericton region, Zone 3, will roll back to the orange phase of recovery as of midnight Thursday night. Confused about what that means, exactly? Here's a refresher on the recently revised rules:
Residents must stick to a one-household bubble. A household bubble can be extended to include a caregiver or an immediate family member who lives alone and needs mental, social or emotional support.
Driving with members of your one-household bubble or caregiver is permitted and masks are not required.
Face masks are mandatory in public spaces, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor public spaces include parks, playgrounds, markets, festival sites, dog parks and walking trails.
A mask is not required while walking, jogging or cycling with people in the same bubble where they are unlikely to risk coming within two metres of people from outside their bubble.
Daycares and K-12 schools are open under strict guidelines. Virtual teaching is to be used for at-risk school populations. Day camps are allowed.
Post-secondary educational institutions may operate.
Essential travel only is recommended in and out of orange level zones, but people can travel within the province for work, school, essential errands and medical appointments.
Carpooling with others for work, school, medical appointments or to access essential services such as groceries is permitted.
Public transit can operate with one-metre distancing between riders and continuous use of a mask.
Entertainment, restaurants, bars
At bars and restaurants, customers must be seated at all times, except when they enter or exit the premises or go to and from washrooms.
Other businesses, including arcades, casinos, food, beverage and retail, may operate if they have a COVID-19 operational plan.
Non-urgent medical procedures and elective surgeries are allowed.
Unregulated health professionals, barbers, hair stylists or spas may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan.
Gyms and fitness centres may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan.
Enforcement 'ramping up' in Fredericton region
Premier Blaine Higgs said Thursday that enforcement efforts will be stepped up in the Fredericton region as it moves back to the orange level.
"In recent days, officers have completed 426 inspections in Zone 1 and 2, and now of course will be ramping up surveillance in Zone 3," Higgs said at the COVID-19 briefing, the fourth such briefing this week.
Higgs flagged concerns around bars and "the younger demographic," urging them to follow the health rules to allow businesses to operate and warned that community transmission of COVID-19 is "a real concern."
As of Thursday, he said, enforcement efforts have led to the issuing of 71 fines and 140 letters of non-compliance in Zone 1 and Zone 2. Saint John was pushed back to the orange phase on Nov 20 and Moncton on Nov, 19.
Peace officers will continue to monitor these zones, and will also now move into the Fredericton region to do community checks and "respond to any complaints they receive."
Higgs took special care to acknowledge that he has "heard complaints and concerns about how we communicate that people are in violation ... and I just ask that we be patient."
"I know it's not easy being approached by a peace officer, but it's all for our own good," he said. "They're out there to protect each and every one of us."
Remains of Atlantic bubble vaporize as of midnight
Premier Blaine Higgs said that as of midnight Thursday night, New Brunswick is reverting back to its original 14-day-isolation rule "for anyone, from anywhere" coming into New Brunswick.
Registration for travel into the province, including New Brunswickers returning home from travel, is also now mandatory. Travellers can register on the Government of New Brunswick website.
Higgs said at Thursday's news briefing that there would be exemptions for commercial vehicles and people travelling for work, business, medical, child custody or child-care reasons.
He stressed that checkpoints would not be set up at the Nova Scotia border, but both he and Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, have repeatedly urged New Brunswickers to avoid all non-essential travel to Nova Scotia at this time.
On Monday, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced that they would take a break from the Atlantic bubble as COVID-19 cases rose in the region.
The two regions backed out after Nova Scotia and New Brunswick saw an increase in cases over the weekend.
Horizon asks retirees, students to help with outbreak
Horizon Health Network has issued a call for volunteers to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak "should the need arise."
The call was made via a tweet on Horizon's Twitter account on Thursday.
In an email to CBC News on Thursday, Horizon said it has identified "an urgent need for staffing at the Saint John Regional Hospital, as well as our assessment centres in Saint John and Fredericton."
"Because of this, Horizon is seeking interest from its clinical and non-clinical staff who are interested in volunteering for a 15-day deployment to any of these facilities," chief human resource officer Maura McKinnon said in the email.
Horizon is also looking to students, retirees and members of its communities to assist with the outbreak if needed, McKinnon said. She did not detail what duties they would be asked to help with.
"We are onboarding new hires through our expedited process and expected to hire 20 additional personnel today."
At Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Jennifer Russell also acknowledged health-care staff shortages, noting "that's not new" but that the pandemic has put extra pressure on staff resources.
In the Saint John area, "upwards of 74 health-care workers are self-isolating," a "huge" number in an area that's already pressed for health-care resources, Russell said.
Premier, prime minister to talk vaccines Thursday night
Premier Blaine Higgs said he will be speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday night about vaccines and vaccine rollouts.
He said he hoped to get some information about when the first vaccines might be available.
"I think what we'll get tonight is a discussion around the whole rollout criteria … and how it will be administered per capita," Higgs said at the COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.
"I'd love to think we'd be in a position to be able to roll out a vaccine in the coming months, maybe in the first quarter of this year, but I'm not in a position to verify that, and I'm hoping for some good news in that regard tonight."
COVID forces curtain to open on virtual stage
The Capitol Theatre in Moncton insists the show must go, despite COVID-19.
Kim Rayworth, the theatre's managing director, said virtual performances have been set for the Christmas season.
Some of those performances include A Down Home Christmas with Tomato/Tomato and Noël with Les Muses next month.
The Capitol is partnering with three other theatres in the province to showcase four solo performances simultaneously in the new year.
The partnership is with the University of Moncton, the Monument-Lefebvre Theatre and the Dieppe Arts and Culture Centre, in collaboration with Coup de cœur francophone.
Potential public exposure warnings for Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton
New Brunswick Public Health has warned of the following possible exposures to COVID-19 in Moncton and Saint John, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.
Anyone who visited these places during the identified times should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Anyone who develops any COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online to schedule a test.
The Snooty Fox on Nov. 18 and 19, 66 Regent St., between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Nov. 19 while on these flights:
Air Canada Flight 178 – from Edmonton to Toronto arrived at 5:58 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 404– from Toronto to Montreal arrived at 10:16 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 8902 – from Montreal to Moncton arrived at 4:17 p.m.
Saint John area
Vito's Restaurant on Nov. 16, 111 Hampton Rd., Rothesay, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Rothesay Route 1 Big Stop Restaurant on Nov. 14 between 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. (2870 Route 1, Rothesay).
Pub Down Under on Nov. 14, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (400 Main St., Saint John)
Fish & Brew on Nov. 14 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (800 Fairville Blvd., Saint John)
Cora Breakfast and Lunch on Nov. 16 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (39 King St., Saint John).
Goodlife Fitness McAllister Place on Nov. 16 between noon and 1 p.m. and on Nov. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (519 Westmorland Rd., Saint John).
NBCC Grandview campus on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (950 Grandview Ave., Saint John).
Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. (47 Clark Rd., Rothesay)
Let's Hummus at 44 Water St. between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Eighty-Three Bar Arcade at 43 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.
Callie's Pub at 2 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.
O'Leary's Pub at 46 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.
Five and Dime Bar at 34 Grannan St. on Nov. 14, between 12:30 to 2:30 a.m
Freddie's Pizza at 27 Charlotte St. on Nov. 14, between 2:30 to 3 a.m.
Big Tide Brewing Company at 47 Princess St. on Nov. 16, between 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Java Moose at 84 Prince William St. Nov. 16, between 2 to 2:30 p.m.
Rocky's Sports Bar at 7 Market Square on Nov. 13, between 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 14 between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.
RD Maclean Co. Ltd. on Nov. 16, 17 and 18 at 200 St. George St., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
GoodLife Fitness on Nov. 21 at 555 Dieppe Blvd, Dieppe, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Fit 4 Less at 165 Main St. on Nov. 6-12, at various times between 5 p.m. and midnight. Full list on Public Health website.
GoodLife Fitness at Moncton Junction Village Gym on Nov. 6, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 9, between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Aldo Shoes at Moncton Champlain Mall on Nov. 6-10 at various times between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
CEPS Louis-J. Robichaud fitness room at 40 Antonine-Maillet Ave. on Nov. 6, 9, 10 and 12 at various times in the evening from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tandoori Zaika Cuisine and Bar at 196 Robinson St. on Nov. 8, between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.
Keg Steakhouse and Bar at 576 Main St. on Nov. 17, between 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Flights into Moncton:
Air Canada Flight 8954 on Nov. 15 from Winnipeg to Toronto, arrived at 8:16 p.m.
Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 15 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m.
Air Canada Flight 0992 on Nov. 7 from Mexico City to Toronto, arrived at 7:20 p.m.
Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 7 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:
A fever above 38 C.
A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms should:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.