Planning for community resiliency in recovery from COVID-19: October 2, 2020

Dr. Sandra Magalhaes, Madeleine Gorman-Asal, Paramdeep Singh, Chandy Somayaji


Population-based risk indicators can support decision-making in planning for future waves of, and recovery from, COVID-19. They can inform efforts to limit spread and exacerbation of infection in those most at risk and help identify at-risk groups likely impacted by measures to limit spread. 

As part of our research, we are deriving risk indicators using population-level data that can help identify vulnerable populations who may be at higher risk of consequences related to COVID-19 infection or public health restrictions, including 

  • poor health outcomes associated with infection, 
  • greater risk of infection in collective dwellings, 
  • mental health impacts associated with distancing measures, 
  • poor educational outcomes due to school closures, and 
  • financial vulnerability associated with employment interruptions. 

While stay-at-home measures aim to reduce community spread of infection and protect those vulnerable to poor health outcomes, they increase proximity among those living in collective dwellings. In the absence of complete lockdown, the opportunity for infection to enter the home exists. Those living in residential facilities (e.g. special care homes) and apartments have greater risk of infection. As measures relax, schools re-open, which further increases opportunity for transmission across households. Public health measures to control spread of COVID-19 may also have unintended consequences for individuals residing alone, low-income families, individuals with uncertain employment, children with special needs, individuals susceptible to mental health challenges, and those with chronic conditions unable to manage them effectively. 

The goal of our research is to develop an analytical framework to generate community level indicators that are relevant to COVID-19 pandemic planning and recovery efforts in New Brunswick. 

Report - Planning for community resiliency in recovery from COVID-19: October 2, 2020 (2020)

Lifting restrictions for COVID-19

Ted McDonald, Eton Boco, Eva Christensen, Bethany Daigle, Chandy Somayaji, Erfan Bhuiyan, Sarah McRae


The purpose of this rapid review (Part 1 in a 2-part series) is to examine the literature on the various steps being taken around the world to lift restrictions implemented to suppress the spread of COVID-19 – including social restrictions, such as those related to physical distancing, and economic restrictions, such as those affecting the closure of non-essential stores and other businesses.

We find that some restrictions, such the closure of schools and non-essential stores and services, are more commonly among the first to be lifted – though this is done so gradually and with accompanying physical distancing and hygiene requirements. Countries around the world have also begun to ease and/or recommend measures impacting travel, recreation, and sectors of the workforce. While it is too soon to observe the outcomes for many of these measures, modelling studies and observations of case trajectories in Asia suggest a COVID-19 resurgence is likely to occur as restrictions are eased – but if appropriate measures are in place to monitor further infection and reinstate intermittent restrictions, future resurgence could be managed.

The information presented herein on the experiences of other locations ahead of New Brunswick in their COVID trajectories and in the process of reopening their economies can provide valuable insights into the steps this province could take when lifting its own restrictions in future. For Part 2 of this report, we propose to supplement the current work with a qualitative review of the outcomes of easing restrictions, as well as quantitative metrics on the indicators leading up to lifting restrictions – both of which will be used to guide a discussion of implications for scaling back COVID-19 restrictions in New Brunsw

Report - Part 1 - Rapid response report on lifting restrictions for COVID-19 April 16, 2020 (2020)
Report - Part 2 - Lifting restrictions for COVID-19: Implications for New Brunswick April 26, 2020 (2020)

Rapid response reports on COVID-19 projections in New Brunswick

Erfan Mahmood Bhuiyan, Eva Christensen, Bethany Daigle, Sandra Magalhaes, Ted McDonald, Pablo Miah, Chandy Somayaji


This series of reports provides successive updates of projections that the trajectory of COVID-19 cases could follow in New Brunswick based on the experiences of other countries and regions who experienced initial COVID-19 infections earlier than NB. Specifically, these projections estimate what NB’s incident cases, hospitalizations and mortality might be if our province experienced disease trajectories similar to a range of comparison countries and regions, for both 10-day forward and peak infection scenarios. By updating our estimates in subsequent reports as more data become available, we are able to examine how NB is actually doing relative to those scenarios and use the updated data to revise our forecasts accordingly. 

Rapport - Rapport d’intervention rapide concernant la COVID-19 au Nouveau-Brunswick : Le 31 mars 2020 (2020)
Report - Rapid response report on COVID-19 in New Brunswick: March 31, 2020 (2020)
Report - Update: Rapid response report on COVID-19 in New Brunswick: April 14, 2020 (2020)
Report - Update: Rapid response report on COVID-19 in New Brunswick: April 27, 2020 (2020)

Dedicated resources for COVID-19: April 8, 2020

Eva Christensen, Bethany Daigle, Ted McDonald, Chandy Somayaji


As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, policy makers and health care workers are progressively trying to determine best practices for handling the disease – particularly when caring for infected patients. One key question that emerges is whether having dedicated resources (spaces and services) for COVID-19 effectively controls the spread, decreases the severity, and mitigates the cost of the disease – in terms of costs to health care, societal disruption, individual health outcomes (such as scarring of the lungs), and, ultimately, lives lost. This report presents a summary of how health systems in various countries have been separating healthcare resources during pandemic medical management. This includes measures aimed at separation of COVID-19 and non-COVID patient resources, both in terms of separate physical structures for dedicated COVID care and of separation within existing structures, as well as policies aimed at preventing overlap and exposure between point sources of care for medical personnel. 

Report - Rapid response report on dedicated resources for COVID-19: April 8, 2020 (2020)