There have been a total of 31 cases of COVID-19 connected to the Harvest House Atlantic shelter in Moncton.
Despite the outbreak, the individuals seeking shelter have remained in place. They continue to receive housing and food, ensuring that the outbreak is contained as much as possible.
These developments have been closely monitored by Warren Maddox, the executive director of multiple Fredericton shelters.
For COVID-19 outbreaks in large communal settings, the Government of New Brunswick employs a “Prompt” team. The team provides support and recommendations to the outbreak site. They work with staff to minimize the impact on the physical and mental health of the communal population.
Previously, this “Prompt” team has worked exclusively with long-term care facilities. The Harvest House outbreak is the first in a New Brunswick shelter.
Maddox is encouraged by how the Harvest House outbreak has been handled by the province. He feels confident that any potential outbreak in Fredericton shelters will be handled smoothly.
“We watch what happens and see what works. Their methods do not need much adaptation for Fredericton shelters,” explained Maddox.
Everything has gone as planned for Harvest House. The shelter has been turned into an isolation space and there has been regular testing along with daily visits from medical staff.
While the individuals receiving shelter have continued to receive their pre-outbreak services, Harvest House is unable to complete any new intakes. The outbreak will need to be declared over and the space must undergo a deep cleaning before new individuals can receive services.
Maddox feels confident that Fredericton shelters can continue to avoid outbreaks as they have since the beginning of the pandemic. Part of the reason for this is the high vaccination rate among their sheltered population.
Of 27 individuals, only four do not have vaccines and all four have appointments to receive their first dose.
The shelters have also looked at rising case rates and took steps to implement health measures consistent with the “Yellow” phase of COVID restrictions. In all, Fredericton shelters remain a safe place for the individuals they serve.