Aggressive COVID-19 testing is ongoing at a nursing home in Pugwash, N.S., and two more residents have tested positive as a result.
This brings the total number of cases in residents to 23 since an outbreak at the East Cumberland Lodge was first announced earlier this week.
Christal MacKinnon’s 91-year-old father tested positive for the virus during the initial round of testing.
“He was due for his booster shot coming up here quite shortly before he tested positive recently,” MacKinnon said, a Nova Scotia-born woman living in Calgary.
The outbreak has delayed COVID-19 booster shots at the facility while efforts continue to detect and contain further spread of the virus.
“I’m sure my dad’s very confused as to why my mom can’t come visit him now,” MacKinnon said of the safety precautions underway at the long-term care home that prevent visitors.
Nova Scotia public health says the outbreak started with secondary transmission linked to a large faith-based gathering in Cumberland County, N.S.
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The vaccination status of the staff member connected to the gathering isn’t known.
“We have some of our facilities with staff that are upward of 90 to 98 per cent. There are definitely some of our nursing homes around the province that are still trying to get that number up,” Michele Lowe said, the director of the association.
Lowe says booster clinics are underway for long-term care residents and will continue into next week. The clinics will also provide unvaccinated residents an opportunity to finish or start their first dose series.
“Part of the booster rollout has also allowed employers to order additional doses for those staff who did not get their original vaccination. So, that’s a wonderful opportunity for them as well,” Lowe said.
Long-term care staff across Nova Scotia have until Nov. 30 to get at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
If they don’t comply with Nova Scotia’s vaccination mandate for health-care workers, Lowe says they’ll be placed on unpaid leave as per government orders.
The East Cumberland Lodge has only reported mild symptoms in residents so far — a dose of comfort for MacKinnon while she eagerly awaits the time when she can see her father again.
“The Nova Scotia community is strong and close-knit and that I find very comforting,” she said.