Over a thousand LTC workers still unvaccinated
New Brunswick is requiring unvaccinated long-term care workers to take a rapid COVID-19 test every other day if they are working in a facility where less than 50 per cent of the staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The new rule took effect on May 31.
“We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable seniors in our province,” said Bruce Fitch, minister of social development. “We are committed to ensuring we provide a safe environment for both residents and workers in our long-term care facilities.”
Test kits and training will be provided by the government.
The province announced the new policy due to low vaccination rates among the staff in some long-term care facilities.
Vaccination rates remain below 50 per cent for staff in 99 of the province’s 563 long-term care facilities, with about 1,100 workers still have not yet received at least one dose of COVID vaccine.
As of May 30, there were 430,489 individuals in New Brunswick who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, equivalent to 62.1 per cent of eligible individuals.
“This situation is unacceptable and does not align with our mandate to ensure the frail and vulnerable seniors in our care are in a safe environment,” Fitch said. “There are still outbreaks occurring in long-term care facilities, and this is putting the health of many seniors at risk. We have no choice but to impose additional measures to protect the residents living in these facilities.”
Three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians surveyed believe that the high number of deaths in LTC homes related to COVID-19 could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner, according to a report from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) released in March.