Long-term care residents and families struggle with isolation during pandemic
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- One year ago Wednesday, Angela Campbell and her family were celebrating her grandmother Lillian's 90th birthday at Parkland Saint John.
Her 91st birthday, however, was spent in isolation, with the seniors' facility experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19.
"To say it's been difficult is understating it. You worry about her," said Campbell.
The case count at Parkland Saint John now stands at 11 residents and seven employees who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in just a matter of days.
As it stands now, designated support persons and essential caregivers are only allowed at Howe Hall and Millidge Hall within Parkland Saint John.
"The staff at the Shannex are absolutely amazing," Campbell said. "They take care of the residents so well, but not having that connection with her is really, really difficult."
It's been about a month and a half since public health declared an outbreak at the facility, and case numbers had slowed down to only a scattered few throughout the month of December.
All of the newly reported cases are within Tucker Hall.
Another round of testing is scheduled for Friday, the results of which should give health officials a clearer picture of the extent of this outbreak.
As for the cause of the outbreak, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says many of the cases are still under investigation and that process can take anywhere from two to four weeks.
"So, until we get that data in, we don't know that for any reason that family visitation caused this," Shephard said.
The minister has also said the goal is to have everyone in long-term care vaccinated between now and the end of March.