COVID-19 case count concerns in N.B. as two hospitals battle outbreaks
The executive director of New Brunswick’s Coalition for Seniors had a strong message for anyone currently staying in The Moncton Hospital Friday.
“If you can get out, I would encourage you to be able to get out and be placed in a different kind of environment and I think that the government should be looking to do that,” said Cecile Cassista during a Zoom interview with CTV News Friday morning.
Since declaring the outbreak at the Horizon Health Network facility earlier this week, 27 patients and six staff have tested positive for the virus; nine new cases since the last update provided on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
A spokesperson for the health network says a total of 52 COVID-19 positive patients are in Horizon operated facilities across the province - 13 of them in intensive care units.
In an email to CTV News, Vitalite Health Network says just four patients are currently in hospital at their facilities; three patients at the George L. Dumont in Moncton and one patient at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst.
“I really think that they need to take another look at moving those who are able to get out and transition into other care facilities or at home and I’m pleading with family members to cooperate because I think this is for their safety,” said Cassista.
Four in-patient units at the hospital are on lockdown to try and curb the spread. On Monday, the stroke and family medicine unit (Unit 4600) declared an outbreak of the virus, with the rehabilitation unit (Unit 4400) and the family practice and geriatric unit (Unit 5100) doing the same on Tuesday.
The following day, the family medicine and palliative care unit (Unit 3600) also declared an outbreak.
“To have an outbreak in a hospital, where you have a lot of vulnerable people that are patients there...it’s worrisome. I think they’ve reacted quickly and I think they took some measures to get this under control and I always trust these professionals in health care and how they react to it,” said Roger Melanson, New Brunswick’s Liberal Party Leader.
Public health reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 787 across the province. The majority of the new cases were in the Moncton region with 48 confirmed cases reported.
Despite the recent upward trend in cases, New Brunswick’s minister of health, Dorothy Shephard, is confident the hospital has the situation under control.
“The hospital is managing well right now. They are doing sentinel testing, proactive testing of non-symptomatic individuals throughout the hospital to ensure that they try to catch anything if it has spread, but there’s no indication of that right now,” said Shephard.
On Friday evening, Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital declared COVID-19 outbreaks in the facility’s orthopedic surgery and internal medicine units.
Health officials say this comes after a patient on each unit tested positive with the virus.
Horizon says it has implemented comprehensive infection prevention and control precautions, such as enhanced cleaning and contact tracing.
Patients and staff in both units are being tested. Officials say, so far, no other cases have been identified.
Horizon says surgeries, labour and birth services, ambulatory care and professional services appointments will continue.
Officials say staff are working to provide care and comfort to their patients during the outbreaks.