With COVID-19 cases rising across New Brunswick and the recent outbreak in Edmundston, three more zones moved to the red-phase of the pandemic recovery plan and Zone 4 moved into lockdown.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, made the announcement on Jan. 19 during a COVID-19 briefing. She said the Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John regions would move from the orange to the red phase at midnight.
Abigail Hanrahan, a third-year criminology student at St. Thomas University, said she was shocked when she heard the news.
“I understand what they’re doing, I respect it and I follow it because I have to for my place of work, but I feel like there could have been a little bit more elaboration,” said Hanrahan.
Hanrahan works at both the Fredericton and Oromocto locations of FitKids, which is an after-school program. She and her co-workers gathered around to listen to the COVID-19 briefing at 3:30 p.m.
There has been no talk yet about Hanrahan losing her job due to the red phase, but if a further lockdown were to happen, it might be a possibility.
She does not see any positive outcomes from Zones 1, 2 and 3 going red because on the day Fredericton went to red, there was only one case of COVID-19 announced for Zone 3.
Hanrahan thinks the red phase will mostly affect small businesses like local restaurants that can’t allow dine-in right now.
“Even though I don’t believe we should be in red right now, I do respect that they are trying to keep us safe and they are doing what they can with the things that are being thrown at them,” she said.
Lauren Blakely, a first-year University of New Brunswick nursing student, said she was expecting to go into the red phase because she heard rumours about it.
Blakely was glad Zones 1, 2 and 3 moved back into the red phase. Still, she was nervous due to the uncertainty of her upcoming clinical placement.
All clinical placements in the red phase would usually be cancelled, but with Horizon Health guidelines, her placement will still take place from Feb. 10 to March 26.
The nursing students participating in the clinical will not be allowed to work their current part-time jobs during the entire month of the placement.
Blakely works at a grocery store and prior to the red phase, she noticed the same customers coming in multiple times a week. But during her last shift in the red phase, she noticed a lot of her regulars weren’t around.
“People are taking [red phase] more seriously,” said Blakely. “There’s no such thing as being too safe with COVID.”
She said this was a smart move for the N.B. government.
Both students don’t think the red phase will have an impact on their online studies. They are used to doing work from home and their parents work away from home so they aren’t concerned.
Hanrahan and Blakely think the Fredericton region will be out of the red phase within the next two weeks and will slowly make its way towards the yellow recovery phase again.
“That’s what I hope for,” said Blakely.