Coronavirus: Parkland Saint John staff host virtual meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long and staff from Parkland Saint John long-term care facility for a virtual chat on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Courtesy: Office of the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a virtual stop in Saint John Tuesday to speak with staff members at a long-term care facility hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau and Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long joined staff at Parkland Saint John on a video call to discuss how staff dealt with a deadly coronavirus outbreak that began in late 2020.

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Regina Harty, Shannex’s regional manager of nursing home services for the Saint John region, said it was an emotional experience talking about the virus’ impact on residents and staff.

She said the group discussed a number of issues, including the future of long-term care in Canada.

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“(Prime Minister Trudeau) agreed that there’s a lot of work to do in long-term care and that the front-line workers need to be better supported,” Harty said.

“We really need to support our elders better, too. They deserve better care. So it was really nice hearing him really understand the importance of long-term care.”

The meeting lasted about 40 minutes.

Several residents of the Lily Court section of the home died of COVID-19 complications between November and February. Several other residents and staff also tested positive for the virus.

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