New Brunswick MLA calls for more transparency on nursing home outbreaks
Several long-term care homes across New Brunswick are currently battling COVID-19 outbreaks.
According to Michael Keating, the interim executive director of the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, there are seven residents and seven staff members who have tested positive at the Dalhousie nursing home.
Since Thursday, two residents and one staff member has died due to the virus.
"The fear, of course, is the spread, and when we see two of seven in a really short period of time (it's) really quite unnerving," said Keating.
The Losier Hall in Miramichi is also experiencing an outbreak. One resident died on Thursday after testing positive.
The Drew nursing home in Sackville, N.B. has been experiencing an outbreak since mid-September after an unvaccinated staff member tested positive.
"They have been the hardest hit out of anyone in the province," said Keating.
Since then, eight residents have died due to COVID-19 and 29 residents have tested positive.
However, as of Sunday, Keating is relieved to report that after multiple rounds of testing, many residents at the Drew have recovered.
With increasing cases in nursing homes, Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton is asking the provincial government to be more transparent about the current outbreaks in care facilities.
Public health has not been providing any information to the public on the number of outbreaks or COVID-19 cases in care facilities.
"Sharing information is really important, for accountability and to ensure that the government’s response is adequate when there is an outbreak," said Mitton.
"I know that front line workers, nursing home workers have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to follow government guidelines and to try and keep residents and themselves safe."
Mitton told CTV News that she would like to see the province reinstate regular updates on the state of current outbreaks in long-term care homes.
"Information can be shared without compromising privacy to make sure that we understand what’s happening with the fourth wave of the pandemic."
Keating is also concerned that the nursing home sector could face a staffing shortage if not all employees get fully vaccinated soon.
"I’m happy to say that the numbers that we checked on from people refusing went from about 18.6 down to 10 per cent, but again, 10 per cent of 6,000 to 7,000 are still 600 to 700 people,” said Keating.
New Brunswick’s Premier Blaine Higgs recently announced that all government staff including employees in long-term care homes must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 19.
Otherwise, they will be sent home without pay.