Tantramar Report: COVID testing delays in Sackville; vaccine passport enforcement concerns; and Drew Nursing Home up to 22 cases

A screenshot of New Brunswick government materials explaining a new vaccine passport system in effect today, September 22, 2021.
A screenshot of New Brunswick government materials explaining a new vaccine passport system in effect today, September 22, 2021.
Erica Butler - CHMA - SackvilleNB | 22-09-2021
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On Wednesday’s Tantramar Report:

New Brunswick’s new vaccine passport system came into effect today, meaning that people are now required to be fully vaccinated before entering non-essential services like cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms and cinemas. The policy relies on businesses to actively screen customers entering their establishments, requiring then to check for government issued ID and a proof of vaccination. CHMA talks with local business owner Al Barbour who is concerned there’s not enough information about how to screen for vaccination status.

Today also marks the return of the indoor mask mandate to New Brunswick. Premier Blaine Higgs announced Monday that as of today, community masks are once again required in indoor public spaces.

The Drew Nursing Home in Sackville now has 22 cases of COVID-19, according to a letter sent to families on Tuesday evening. 16 residents and 6 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 as of results processed by Tuesday. But according to Public Health, the home is not experiencing an outbreak. At a Monday news conference, Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell confirmed that an outbreak had not been declared at the Drew, but said that testing would continue in the home. The letter to families from executive director Linda Shannon says a new round of testing for all residents and staff will take place on Friday, and that testing will continue twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, until the outbreak is over. Shannon also said staff from other homes as well as retired employees have been on site to assist the Drew.

The province reported 65 new cases on Tuesday, and another person in hospital, for a total of 24 people in hospital with COVID-19 in the province. 15 of those people are in an intensive care unit. The province says no one under the age of 19 is currently in hospital with COVID-19.

Sackville area residents are experiencing delays in getting appointments for and results from COVID-19 tests. CHMA speaks with Emily Austin about her experience waiting nearly 7 days to get a negative test result back for her children. Austin says she is concerned that current delays will discourage people from keeping their kids home when sick, and has some suggestions for making the process easier for families.

The town of Sackville is collaborating with the Indigenous Affairs office at Mount Allison University to sponsor presentation of the film, We Were Children, this Sunday, September 26 at the Vogue CinemaWe Were Children looks at the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system as conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. The film can be disturbing, and is not recommended for children. The town says support people will be available should someone need them.

The film is part of Truth and Reconciliation Week at Mount Allison. The Indigenous Affairs office at the school is offering sweat lodges and has invited Mi’kmaw Ceremonial Elder William Nevin of Elsipogtog First Nation to speak as part of the President’s Speakers Series on Wednesday, September 29. The event takes place at Convocation Hall at 6:30pm, and is open to the public.

The Fall Fair is coming up, and to help kick things off, EOS Eco-Energy is inviting members of the public to see the town’s newly expanded green roof in person. People are welcome to drop by town hall on Thursday anytime between 6:30pm and 8pm. The roof is accessible from the second floor of town hall. EOS says it will have staff on hand to welcome people to the roof, show what has been planted and answer any questions. Proof of vaccination will be required.