New Brunswickers could find out this afternoon whether masks will become mandatory in indoor public spaces, regardless of whether physical distancing can be maintained.
The COVID-19 cabinet committee and cabinet were scheduled to discuss the issue at 9 a.m. and Premier Blaine Higgs said Wednesday he expected a decision to be made.
The outbreak at Manoir Notre-Dame special care home in Moncton, where 19 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, would “definitely be a factor in the discussions around the future requirement for masks,” he said.
Before the meeting, Interim Liberal Leader Roger Melanson told CBC he would support mandatory masks, if that is the recommendation of Public Health.
“I mean, when you see the inconsistency ….there’s some private companies that do enforce it, some are suggesting we do wear one, we’re seeing more municipalities now in their locations going forward to wear a mask. It’s very inconsistent and people have their different interpretations — Should I wear one? Should i not wear one?
“So I think we have to have a provincial policy and make it clear if you should or should not.”
Higgs and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell will hold a COVID-19 news conference at 3 p.m. in Fredericton.
Russell said Wednesday the province is now into the second wave of the virus, but its full extent won’t be known for another two weeks, the incubation period of the virus.
There are now 22 active cases in New Brunswick — 20 in the Moncton health region (Zone 1) and two in the Saint John health region (Zone 2).
Seventeen new cases were announced Wednesday, the province’s largest single-day increase since late March.
All of the new cases are in the Moncton health region and connected to the Manoir Notre-Dame outbreak, which was declared Tuesday after two residents tested positive.
Thirteen residents, four staff and two family members who were close contacts of a resident have tested positive, said Russell.
The first two residents who tested positive are in hospital in stable condition, she has said.