Today, New Brunswickers will win their freedom back while Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, will lose her powers to manage the COVID-19 crisis. She will have no authority to order mask-wearing, social distancing and list-making for contact tracing, even if the number of infected people increases again.
“I am comfortable with the status quo at the moment,” Russell said in an interview.
She added that people are now in better shape to combat COVID-19 because they have vaccines.
Green Party Leader David Coon said:
“It’s not sufficient to cover the suite of measures she might need to reinstate if we get into a situation this fall, as we move indoors with the restrictions lifted and we see increasing cases.”
For now, vaccinations are being injected at a slower pace in New Brunswick. Only 66.1 percent of eligible people aged 12 and up fully were vaccinated so far. That is fewer than 60 percent of New Brunswickers as a whole.
Russell believes that the number of infected of the province will rise again. She added:
“There’s no question the number of cases is going to go up. I can tell you that right now.”
She also believes that the province will be able to control the situation when the number of infected spikes:
“I don’t feel strongly at this moment in time that I need to go down that path immediately, when the tools to prevent all of those things from becoming problematic are available right now, and that is vaccines and their accessibility.”
Russell said she expects Health Canada to start introducing a vaccine for children under the age of 12. She also expects third doses for immune-compromised New Brunswickers to be introduced as well.