No new cases of COVID-19, but unions say province needs to better prepare for next outbreak

No new cases of COVID-19, but unions say province needs to better prepare for next outbreak

New Brunswick Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday for the first time in almost two weeks.

The last time the province reported no new cases was on Friday, Oct. 2.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 292. Of those, there are 89 active cases and 201 have recovered. There have been two deaths.

There are 42 active cases in Zone 1 and 43 in Zone 5. There are also two cases each in Zones 2 and 3.

Five people are in hospital with one in intensive care. As of Thursday, New Brunswick public health staff have conducted 88,712 tests.

Zones 1 and 5 are Orange

Zone 1 (the Moncton region) and Zone 5 (the Campbellton region) remain at the Orange level under the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan. Orange level rules are available online.

All other zones are in the Yellow level but Public Health measures and guidelines must still be followed.

To learn about the boundaries of each health zone, see the map available at the online COVID-19 dashboard.

Students and staff from Grade 6 through Grade 8 at Dalhousie Regional High School will participate in virtual learning until Oct. 22. Students in Grades 9 through 12 have resumed in-class learning.

Students at Academie Notre Dame are learning from home until Friday. They will resume in-class learning next week, but on a staggered schedule.

In Moncton, a steady stream of family drops off care packages at the Manoir Notre-Dame, including Janice MacDonald, whose parents are residents of the special care home. They are COVID-free and in isolation.

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Last week Horizon Health put out a call for volunteers to make up for understaffing at the home following an outbreak that now has infected both residents and staff.

“If they were putting a call out on a long weekend for staff I would have to say they weren’t as prepared as they thought they were,”said Sharon Teare, the president of the New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions.

Teare represents 4,100 nursing home workers across New Brunswick. Staff at the Manoir Notre Dame aren’t among them. She says the province needs to have a team on stand-by should COVID-19 find its way into another nursing home.

“That COVID team of staff are individuals who have signed up and are prepared to go to work in other facilities that may be reduced significantly by staffing do you have them already set in place,”Teare said.

Cecile Cassista, the executive director of the Coalition for Seniors says if increased staffing from the province isn’t possible, there is another solution.

“I’ve asked for them to bring in the army,” Cassista said.”Gagetown is not far away and there needs to be more staff in there to do things, let’s do it.”

Cassista is also asking that COVID-negative residents be allowed to go and stay with family until the outbreak is over. So far, health officials say that’s not possible.

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