COVID-19 Bulletin (No. 5 • March 26, 2020)

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

More than ever, the social distancing directive must be followed not only for activities like parties with friends and sporting events, but also in our everyday activities, whether at home with our loved ones or at work with our co-workers. We will need to be patient and resilient: these new behaviours are likely to be the new standard for some time, possibly even a few months.

To conclude, I would like to reiterate the message widely circulated on social media and that gives a good idea of everyone’s individual responsibility to protect health care workers: “Doctors and health care professionals stay at work for you. Please stay home for them!”

Reorganization of care

Over the past few days, Vitalité Health Network has reduced nonessential services, controlled admissions to its hospitals and sped up the safe return home or to a nursing home of patients. This allowed us to mobilize our teams for planning, to free up inpatient beds and to create some flexibility in terms of human resources. Preparations to be able to treat patients infected with COVID 19 are ongoing and, to that end, reorganization of care and staff training are our priorities.

Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients

Since March 18, 40 elderly ALC patients have successfully been placed in a nursing home and were able to leave the hospital. The Network expects to be able to transfer approximately fifteen additional patients over the next few days.

Inpatient beds

The Network has 930 inpatient beds, including 42 in intensive care. As of March 24, 2020, our bed occupancy rate was 71%, which represents a total of 273 available beds. This impressive number is the result of efforts made by our doctors and staff to free up beds to be able to meet the needs of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screening clinics

Since yesterday, a screening clinic has been operating at the Enfant-Jésus RHSJ† Hospital in Caraquet, which gives us a total of nine clinics across the Network’s territory. At this time, all clinics have excess testing capacity and more than meet the demand Currently, all clinics have excess screening capacity and meet the demand in accordance with criteria established by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province. If requests for testing increase, it will be possible to increase the capacity of our existing clinics or open additional ones as needed.

Number of ventilators – update

According to the latest inventory, the Network has 94 ventilators across its hospital facilities. The Network has ordered 42 additional ones.

Interprovincial border closure

Yesterday, the government of New Brunswick announced restrictions for travellers entering the province. Therefore, all unnecessary travel to New Brunswick is prohibited, with some exceptions, such as health care workers and doctors provided that precautions are followed. The Network would like to clarify that members of the Listuguj First Nation and residents of the western area of MRC d'Avignon, in Quebec, can enter New Brunswick to receive care at the Campbellton Regional Hospital or from their primary health care provider.

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.

Patient services

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