Saint John nursing home reports deaths of 2 COVID-infected residents
Families apply more pressure to deliver COVID vaccine to Parkland Saint John
Families with loved ones at the Shannex nursing home in Saint John were notified by email Tuesday that two residents from Lily Court who tested positive for COVID-19 had died.
The residents, one 80 to 89 years old and the other 70 to 79, lived at Lily Court, part of Parkland Saint John's Tucker Hall.
New Brunswick has now recorded 11 deaths related to COVID-19. The death of one person with COVID was not related to the disease.
"Marcia and I are saddened to learn of this loss," Premier Blaine Higgs is quoted as saying in a government news release later Tuesday afternoon.
He and Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, both offered condolences to the families.
It's a serious loss to all the families who have relatives at the Shannex and for those who have been living in fear of getting similar news.
"Every time the phone rings, you're running in a panic," said Cynthia King, whose mother and mother-in-law live at the Shannex Parkland complex.
"Or, God forbid, is it a notice that somebody has passed."
King is one of several people who have been asking why Shannex residents can't be vaccinated during an outbreak.
In her mind, there's no more urgent need than a residence that's been under strain for about eight weeks since residents and staff started testing positive.
Public Health confirmed Tuesday that the current decision is not to vaccinate at a nursing home that is experiencing an outbreak.
At a news conference Monday, Russell said that decision is still under review.
"We've had multiple discussions," she said.
"And we're having more discussions today about what the risks are of having vaccination clinics held in places where there are outbreaks declared. So, again, those discussions are ongoing."
Families write minister
Margo Emrich says her 91-year-old mother has been declining because of prolonged isolation at the Shannex in Saint John.
Emrich is one of many family members who have now written to Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, urging her to bring a vaccine to the facility.
She says staff at the nursing home need the support of families, and this can't happen until people are provided with some protection.
"Give them the vaccines so that those human beings can have all the families back so that they can get their jobs done."
Shannex sent out another email Tuesday, informing families it was actively working with Public Health to determine when vaccination would be coming.
In the meantime, it provided consent forms so that the facility would be prepared for the moment when the vaccine is approved to arrive.
Public Health confirmed Tuesday that there were no vaccination clinics planned this week for any nursing home or long-term care homes in the province.
Spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said he had no date on when the next batch of the Moderna vaccine would be arriving in New Brunswick.
Of the two approved vaccines, Moderna is easier to transport because it doesn't require extreme refrigeration.