New Brunswick

Senior's negative COVID-19 test brings relief to one family

It was a long weekend for Ian Comeau and his family as they waited to hear if their father, a resident of Manoir de la Vallée in Athoville, N.B., had COVID-19. 

Ian Comeau says while he's happy, he is worried about those who tested positive at long-term care facility

Ian Comeau took this picture of him and his father during a social distancing visit in April at Manoir De La Vallée in Athoville. Comeau said he found out Sunday his father's test for COVID-19 came back negative. (Submitted/Ian Comeau)

It was a long weekend for Ian Comeau and his family as they waited to hear if their father, a resident of Manoir de la Vallée in Athoville, N.B., had COVID-19. 

While the test was negative, Comeau said it was a tense few days. 

"Yesterday when we were told he was negative, I just went 'yes.'" 

But Comeau said he's also thinking of the four residents and staff member that tested positive for COVID-19. 

There are four people from the long-term care facility in hospital in Campbellton and one is in the intensive care unit.

"We knew that the battle is not over yet," said Comeau. "Though the results are at zero today, you know this battle is not done." 

Comeau said they were contacted Friday morning when it was learned a staff member working at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19. There are 57 residents living in the independent living apartments as well as a special care home.

"The stress level started to increase," he said. 

Many questions

Families were told what the process would be to have residents and staff tested and that results would be available in 24 to 48 hours. 

"We had many questions, you know, if the staff had been in contact, you know all those questions weren't answered because they still had to question the employee," said Comeau. 

"It's been a stressful period." 

Comeau said despite the long-term care facility being in crisis mode, the director provided all the information he needed and answered all his questions.

Ten of the 28 staff at the Manoir de la Vallée long-term care facility resigned because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 "It's nice to see that the province has jumped in to help the manor, providing more people there, Ambulance New Brunswick, Extra Mural," said Comeau. "It's those kinds of things that make it more safe for us, for my father especially and the other residents."   

Comeau said his father is not located in the same unit as the residents who have COVID-19. He's been assured staff and health officials are caring for everyone and monitoring for symptoms.

"I know a lot of people may think of the examples in Quebec and Ontario, but where my father is, at the Manoir de la Vallee, it's been professional," he said. "It's been great service from day one. He's been there 15 months and I know they will continue." 

Angry at one person

The Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville has an employee and four residents who tested positive for COVID-19. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)
While he said he was angry at what has resulted from the actions of one person, Comeau said no one but that person is to blame. 

"The consequences of one person are being felt for him, it's a mistake but sometimes you know these kinds of mistakes could have been avoided." 

With no new cases Monday, Comeau said he's hopeful it's a step towards flattening the curve again in New Brunswick. He added with almost 3,000 people showing up to be tested, it showed people wanted to make sure they were doing what they could to stop the spread.

"We were worried. A lot of people were concerned and worried," he said. "We didn't want to spread this thing around the province, around the country. It can just start with one (case)." 

Twelve active cases in Region 5 are linked to a doctor who travelled to Quebec, contracted the virus in Quebec and didn't self-isolate upon his return to New Brunswick. The doctor, who has had contact with about 150 people since returning, has been suspended.

The region has been moved back to the orange phase of the recovery plan, while the rest of the province remains in the yellow phase. 

With files from Shift New Brunswick. Sarah Morin and Harry Forrestell

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