With the confirmed presence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the province, the New Brunswick government is ramping up efforts to combat its spread. The new variant has been confirmed in three cases, including one in Zone 1, the Moncton region.

A number of new measures were announced on Dec. 13th in a government news conference and press release. Among them: businesses and retail establishments must ensure 2m distancing between patrons, entertainment venues can only operate at 50 per cent capacity, household contacts must be limited to a steady 20, and students in grades K-to-6 will be starting their Christmas vacations one week ahead of schedule, beginning after school on Friday, Dec. 17th.

The government also announced on Dec. 13 that another two New Brunswickers have died from the coronavirus. One-hundred new cases were announced, of which 12 are in Zone 1. This brings the total of active cases in New Brunswick to 1,048. Forty-one COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, including 14 in ICUs.