- On Monday, hundreds of New Brunswickers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have failed to show proof of immunization will return to work in sensitive industries across the province.
Hundreds of New Brunswickers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or failed to present proof of vaccination are set to return to work in vulnerable industries across the province on Monday. However, it is unclear what mitigating steps they will be required to take.
There are over 250 government personnel working at Horizon and Vitalité hospitals, Extra-Mural/Ambulance NB, corrections, and over 100 nursing home employees.
According to Norm Bossé, the new CEO of the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, “there is a significant worry” among nursing facility operators.
“They don’t want anyone infecting their citizens, especially those who aren’t vaccinated and may return.”
The province declared on April 1 that, starting on April 11, it would no longer require personnel in sensitive industries to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Employees who were positioned on unpaid leave last fall for being unvaccinated or failing to provide evidence of full vaccination might return to work if they followed all mitigation measures needed by their employer based on Public Health guidance until they were fully vaccinated according to the statement.
Nursing facilities and adult residential homes licensed by the Department of Social Development are also affected.
On the other hand, nursing facilities were still waiting for the province’s mitigating measures as of late Friday afternoon, according to Bossé.
“We expected them to arrive yesterday. We haven’t received them yet. They’re working on those right now.”
According to spokesman Rebecca Howland, the Department of Social Development is still waiting to hear from Public Health.
In an emailed statement, she said, “Public Health has been working to establish the mitigating measures, including clarifying the present meaning of full or up-to-date immunizations.” “Other procedures, such as masking and testing, will be addressed.
“The department will share the guidelines with all licensed facilities across the province, as well as the associations, as soon as we receive them from Public Health.”
Bruce Macfarlane, a representative for the Department of Health, was also unable to provide any answers.
“I’ve requested this specific information from the team, and I’m waiting to hear back,” he said.
Nursing homes, which have been experiencing staffing shortages, “can use all the workers they can get,” according to Bossé.
“It’s not that we don’t want them; we just want everyone to be secure.”
He pointed out that the policy change was made without consultation.
“They didn’t contact the homeowners’ association or its board of directors. It has just occurred.”
He believes the ” minimum ” needs will be masking and quick testing three times per week based on video conference discussions with roughly 130 representatives from the anglophone industry and 40 from the francophone sector on Thursday; he believes the “minimum” needs will be masking and quick testing three times per week.
However, the majority of them already apply those policies to all employees.
At the same time, some persons who have been vaccinated are developing COVID, according to Bossé.
“So a fully vaccinated staff member might pass it on just as an unprotected staff member.”
According to the Department of Social Development, there were outbreaks in 25 nursing facilities this week, with 174 residents and 163 employees affected.
That’s five more outbreaks than three weeks ago when 165 citizens and 121 employees were infected.
“Wasn’t that brought in by workers who hadn’t been vaccinated?”
“So all I’m saying is that they’re not vaccinated isn’t a happy thing for anyone. But, at the same time, it is occurring, and everyone will have to accept it and simply stay safe. We’ll do anything we can to minimize the damage.”
Source: CBC News
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