New Brunswick

N.B COVID-19 roundup: Campbellton ER to reopen this week

Campbellton Regional Hospital will soon reopen its emergency department, which has been shut down for a week in a closure related to COVID-19 outbreak in the region. 

Elsewhere, after no Air Canada service since mid-March, Saint John gets Montreal flight back

Campbellton Regional Hospital's emergency department is expected to reopen on Wednesday. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Latest

  • More flights added to Moncton offerings
  • No new cases of COVID-19 Monday
  • Horizon Health patients allowed to have visitors
  • Fredericton's Beaverbrook Art Gallery to stay closed
  • Campbellton region could enter yellow phase by Friday
  • What to do if you have a symptom

Campbellton Regional Hospital will soon reopen its emergency department, which it shut down for a week in another  closure related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the region. 

In a news release Monday, the Vitalité Health Network said the emergency department will reopen at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Elective surgeries and non-urgent outpatient care and services will resume June 29.

If the Campbellton region moves into the next phase of the province's COVID-19 recovery plan, patient visits might also be permitted by next Monday.

"Temporary service closures and interruptions are necessary to ensure the safety of Campbellton Regional Hospital personnel and patients due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility," the news release said. "The Network is making every effort to be able to restore a more normal operation at the Campbellton Regional Hospital."

There are currently 25 active cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton region, some involving health-care workers.

In a status report, Vitalité said mass testing of employees has been underway since June 13.

"Strict infection prevention and control measures" have also been in place.

The report repeated Vitalité's earlier assertion that staff have enough personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, for their work while COVID patients are in the hospital.

This comes after three front-line care-givers who have worked on the COVID-19 unit told CBC News last week that they didn't feel save under current PPE protocols, especially one that only allows the use of N95 masks for procedures that produce airborne droplets.

Masks, but not N95 masks, are to be worn at all times at the hospital. 

Flights resume at Saint John Airport

Saint John Airport officials are worried passengers from outside New Brunswick will be turned away by border patrols as Air Canada resumes flights from Montreal to the Port City.

One daily flight arrived at the Saint John Airport shortly before 3:30 p.m. and was to depart at 4:30 p.m. Border patrol officers with the province are questioning travellers arriving at the airport. 

"Obviously, you have to have a legitimate reason … on why you're coming into New Brunswick, and if those are met, than you should be OK to come in," said Jacques Fournier, director of commercial development at the Saint John Airport. 

"If they're not, there's always a chance they could get turned away." 

He said the plane is a 78-seat aircraft, which has been upgraded from the 50-seat commercial aircraft originally planned. 

An Air Canada flight from Montreal has arrived at the Saint John Airport on Monday afternoon. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

"Obviously, the demand is a little more than we thought."

But Fournier said some seats won't be used, so passengers can keep their distance from each other on the plane.

"I would have to say the aircraft will be pretty busy today."

Flights at all three of New Brunswick's largest airports have been reduced since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, and service in Saint John was suspended altogether.

Saint John Airport staff have also taken steps to make sure passengers can physically distance themselves from one another, including when they're lining up to get on a plane.

People permitted to come into the province are still required to self-isolate for two weeks, with the exception of New Brunswick residents working who have been working outside the province.

Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said there are two peace officers and two screeners at each airport during hours of operation.

"Some people still need to travel and want to travel," said Fournier. "I believe we will still see people with cottages here in New Brunswick coming in."

Additional flights to Toronto and Montreal from Saint John will start on July 1.

"It's been a while since we've seen commercial traffic coming back into the Saint John Airport," Fournier said. "So it is very exciting."

More flights added to Moncton offerings

Toronto and Montreal flights that were previously suspended to and from the Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, also resumed Monday. They include one daily flight to Toronto and Montreal until June 30.

In July, flights to each city will operate twice a day, but exceptions could apply, said Julie Pondant, a spokesperson for the airport.  

Halifax and Ottawa flights are suspended until Sept. 7.

WestJet currently operates three days a week to Toronto from the Moncton airport.

Swoop Airlines has postponed service to the Moncton airport. 

The Fredericton International Airport has two daily Air Canada flights to Montreal and three WestJet flights per week to Toronto. 

 "The airport has been open continuously, with both Air Canada and WestJet continuing to serve YFC, although on a reduced schedule," said Kate O'Rourke, a spokesperson for the Fredericton International Airport. 

Porter and Sunwing have both suspended operations until the end of July at New Brunswick airports.

No new cases of COVID-19 Monday

Public Health announced no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. 

There are currently 27 active cases of the respiratory virus in the province, according to the province. 

Out of the 164 cases of COVID-19 in the province, 135 people have recovered.

There have been two deaths at the Manoir de la Vallée this month, a long–term care home in Zone 5, the Campbellton region.

Two patients are currently hospitalized and one is in an intensive care unit at the Campbellton Regional Hospital.

As of today, 40,663 tests have been conducted.

Horizon Health patients allowed to have visitors 

Patients at Horizon Health Network can welcome one healthy visitor at a time, the health network said in a news release Monday.

Visitors can see patients between 2 and 8 p.m. each day for a maximum of one hour. Visitors must be 12 or older and cannot bring pets into the hospital.

Under the new guidelines, all visitors to Horizon centres must:

  • Be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon entry.
  • Always wear a community mask during their visit.
  • Maintain physical distancing and clean their hands frequently during visits.
  • Limit their interactions with staff, and other patients and visitors.
  • Leave the patient's room when staff are conducting procedures.

At any time, staff can restrict the number of visitors in an area or the length of visits to ensure guidelines are adhered to.

Critical care, intensive care and neonatal intensive care patients can have one visitor at a time. Visitors are limited to close family members only. The length of these visits is determined by staff on the unit and how busy things are. 

Palliative care patients can have two visitors at a time and visiting hours can be adjusted. Palliative care patients receiving end-of-life care may also have one additional visitor for pastoral or spiritual care, to provide comfort to the patient, family and loved ones.

Patients visiting emergency departments and ambulatory care who require assistance may have one support person only. No other visitors permitted. Pediatric patients may have one support person, who must be a parent or caregiver.

"Visitors who expect their loved ones to be discharged from hospital in the near future — within one week — are asked to consider waiting for their loved one to be discharged to visit," the news release said. 

Fredericton's Beaverbrook Art Gallery to stay closed 

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is staying closed because of COVID-19, but it won't be quiet for long.

The gallery in Fredericton is set to start renovations and the building of a new pavilion soon, with the aim of reopening sometime late next year.

The work wasn't meant to close the gallery down, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that plan.

Although art galleries and museums are allowed to open under the province's recovery plan, Tom Smart, the gallery's director, said the accessible entrance could not work with physical distancing.

There were concerns about the safety of visitors and staff, he said.

"You might think that with the big galleries that there would be room but there isn't," said Smart.

"So we are taking the opportunity of this COVID to accelerate a construction schedule to build a fully accessible pavilion entrance in our front door."

In February, the city approved the gallery's plan to build an addition to the front of its Queen Street building.

The $6 million upgrade will see the gallery move closer to the road, more exhibition space and an upgraded entrance.

Saint John Airport staff have taken steps to make sure passengers can physically distance themselves from one another. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

But Smart said now that visitors aren't an issue, the gallery will look to do even more renovations, including doing work on the roof and back wall.

"We want to take the opportunity to really refresh the facility, make it safe, make it sound so that the collection doesn't have water pouring in on it," said Smart. 

"We hope that when this is all over there'll be a vastly improved new gallery that will really help with developing and stimulating and growing the city and province."

While the summer closure will certainly affect tourists and local art lovers, Smart said, the gallery plans to still offer some programming online, which it has done throughout the pandemic, and outdoors at the gallery site.

"The sculpture park is going to be opening in a few weeks and that will also really create a cultural area down in that part of the city for people to enjoy," said Smart.

Campbellton region could enter yellow phase by Friday

New Brunswick moved into the next phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan Friday, with the exception of Zone 5.

The Campbellton region, the site of an outbreak provincial officials have linked to a medical professional who travelled to Quebec and didn't self-isolate, remains at the stricter orange level.

Premier Blaine Higgs announced New Brunswick’s next steps in the COVID-19 recovery plan. 3:20

Only two-household bubbles are permitted under the orange level.

In addition, non-regulated health professionals and businesses, such as acupuncturists and naturopaths, and personal services businesses, such as hair stylists and spas, can't operate.

A rendering of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery's exterior after its expansion. (Beaverbrook Art Gallery)

As long as there isn't an increase in COVID-19 cases, Premier Blaine Higgs said the Campbellton region will be allowed to move into the yellow phase by Friday. 

For the rest of New Brunswick, all remaining businesses can open with appropriate distancing and sanitizing, and operational plans respecting Public Health guidelines. This includes casinos and amusement parks.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptom can take a self-assessment test on the government website at gnb.ca. 

People with one of those symptoms are asked to:

  • Stay at home.

  • Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.

  • Describe symptoms and travel history.

  • Follow instructions.

About the Author

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from Jordan Gill

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