COVID-19 Bulletin (No. 3 • March 20, 2020)

Message from Mr Gilles Lanteigne, President and Chief Executive Officer:

Government has just declared a state of emergency. Preventive measures like isolation and social distancing are no longer voluntary—they are mandatory. You must absolutely comply, regardless of your age or health status. Everyone’s safety is at stake. Remember that these are temporary measures whose duration we can control. The more we ignore them, the more the risk of contagion will increase and the more isolation measures will be extended. There is still time to flatten the growth curve; but to achieve that, we must act accordingly. This might sound harsh, but it is necessary.

Calling retired physicians

The Network is calling all retired physicians who would be interested in giving us a hand and going back to work. We invite the general public to talk about this to people around them and to spread the word. Retired physicians can contact the Medical Services offices in each of our zones: (Beauséjour: 862-4957, Northwest: 739-2360, Restigouche: 789-5041, Acadie-Bathurst: 544-2701).

Calling retired employees of the health care system

The Network is also asking for the help of retired employees of the health care system, from all areas of activity. We ask our retired employees who would be willing to lend a hand in this pandemic period to contact our Human Resources Department as soon as possible at 1-833-249-2003 or by e-mail at emplois.jobs@vitalitenb.ca.

Visits

Patient visits are prohibited across all Network facilities, except for palliative care (or end of life) patients, pediatric patients and obstetrical patients. In these cases, only one immediate family member or designated care partner is allowed to visit.

Access to hospitals

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus and protect the safety of patients and staff, access to all our hospitals is now strictly monitored. Employees are controlling access points, and members of the public must justify the reason for their visit before being allowed to enter. Employees are no longer allowed to use main entrances in hospitals.

Medical notes

Employers should not send their employees to the emergency room for a sick leave or a return to work. They should rather ask them to contact their family physician.  Employees who are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms should not be asked by employers to visit emergency rooms. In the event of symptoms related to COVID-19 only (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), the employee must contact Tele-Care 811 services or his family physician. For any doubt, the employee should simply contact his family physician.

COVID-19 Self-Assessment

The provincial government has developed a self-assessment tool to determine if you must be tested for COVID-19. The tool is available online, and you can use the assessment for yourself or for someone else who cannot do it on their own.

Screening clinics

Some screening clinics will be open over the weekend (March 21 and 22) to ensure continuity of services. The Network has eight screening clinics. They are located at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital, Grand Falls General Hospital, Edmundston Regional Hospital, Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin, Campbellton Regional Hospital, Chaleur Regional Hospital and Tracadie Hospital.

Patient services

Services deemed nonessential are suspended. You can check the list of cancelled services on the Network’s website.

Safety of patients and employees

The Network is being proactive by implementing measures regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for its employees and of disinfecting products. By following Public Health recommendations and its own guidelines, the Network is ensuring that its inventories are properly managed, which is a key success factor to face the pandemic and ensure the safety of our teams and patients. For instance, N95-type masks must only be used for some types of procedures, as indicated in our guidelines on the use of PPE. The same applies to other protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, gloves and visors.