Families of Saint John, N.B., nursing home breathe a sigh of relief after outbreak declared over
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The families of people who live in a Saint John nursing home gripped by an outbreak of COVID-19 for nearly three months are breathing a collective sigh of relief this week after New Brunswick Public Health declared the outbreak officially over.
Some, however, are still wondering what comes next.
Louise Mackin called to check in and catch-up with her mother from the parking lot of Parkland Saint John's Tucker Hall. For two months, this was the closest she could get, but that all changed this week.
"The next day, Wednesday, I was able to go in and visit with my mom face-to-face, and we were even able to sit closer than the previous visits before Christmas," Mackin said.
An outbreak of COVID-19 was declared at Tucker Hall on Nov. 21. It was a deadly outbreak that went on for nearly three months, devastating the Lily Court neighbourhood, a memory-care unit within Tucker Hall.
Now, there is a sense of long-awaited relief -- especially with vaccinations nearly complete.
"We do have two remaining neighbourhoods, Portland Court and Lily Court, they will receive their dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday," said Regina Harty, a clinical practice leader With Shannex New Brunswick, the operator of the nursing home.
Families though, are wondering what the new normal will look like here, and what's next when it comes to visitations -- especially when the complex is fully immunized.
"Can they live a normal life? Can we take them out? Can they move about freely? Can they go to the hair salon again?" Mackin said. "So, that's a question and we haven't gotten the answer to that yet."
Monique Leblanc is the daughter of another resident.
"Are we allowed to go back in as designated support people as before the outbreak started in November," Leblanc said. "That's what we're looking for, what our next steps are."
Harty says, with the Orange phase, they are open to designated support persons, but that they are taking a cautious approach to welcoming people back into Parkland.