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New COVID-19 cases at Saint John long-term care facility already under outbreak protocol

Click to play video '2 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed at Parkland Saint John Tucker Hall' 2 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed at Parkland Saint John Tucker Hall
WATCH: The positive tests have reignited an outbreak at the long-term care facility that began nearly two months ago. Tim Roszell has more – Jan 5, 2021

Fifteen new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at a long-term care facility in Saint John already dealing with an outbreak.

In an update posted on its website, Shannex, the owners of Parkland Saint John, said 11 residents and 4 employees and at its Tucker Hall location tested positive this week.

Shannex said all residents of Tucker Hall are isolating in their suites and contact tracing is underway.

The news comes after an outbreak was declared at Tucker Hall Nov. 20, and almost three weeks after the last positive test there.

The province does not declare an outbreak over until 28 days after the last case is identified.

“This is disappointing news for everyone at Tucker Hall, but especially for residents and families who have already suffered as a result of the first phase of this outbreak,” said Derek Green, Shannex vice-president of New Brunswick opperations, in the website update.

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Read more: N.B. reports 6 new cases of COVID-19 as residents urged to follow restrictions over the holidays

“This virus has been incredibly difficult to fight, but we are working closely with our partners at Public Health and we are doing everything we can to protect our community and get beyond this so families can safely be together again.”

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The new cases have raised concerns for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents about 85 workers at the home.

Tamara Elisseou, CUPE Local 5446 national representative, said she learned from Shannex Monday night that an employee had tested positive, but she said it had not been made clear as of Tuesday afternoon if the employee was a CUPE member.

“It was very general information,” Elisseou said. “We don’t know when the last time (was that) they were at work.

“We don’t know if they contracted it through close contact within Shannex or whether they contracted it through community spread.”

Read more: Shannex reports 15 coronavirus cases among residents and staff at Parkland Saint John

Elisseou said employees were overworked and exhausted during the November outbreak, working extended hours and extra shifts. She said the pandemic has only exacerbated an existing staffing problem through long-term care in New Brunswick.

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Recruiting and retaining workers has been an issue for a long time, Elisseou said. She said she wants to see the government make changes to the sector.

“There’s a new health care reform platform that the government is working on and we want to see long term care be a part of that,” Elisseou said.

“We want to see long-term care as a part of the public service because long-term care is stretched thin and further cuts just aren’t going to do it.”

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, said in a briefing Public Health teams are onsite at Tucker Hall and all employees and residents there were expected to be tested on Tuesday.

Click to play video 'Horizon Health seeks help in Saint John COVID-19 outbreak' Horizon Health seeks help in Saint John COVID-19 outbreak
Horizon Health seeks help in Saint John COVID-19 outbreak – Nov 27, 2020