Health authorities, led by nurses, still on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic

If you’ve entered a Horizon hospital or health facility recently you know not much has changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s because it can’t — not yet, anyways.

COVID-19 is still very present in New Brunswick. There is still a high risk of transmission in the community, and many individuals still face severe outcomes if infected.

Our health care workers, led by our nursing staff, are still donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) each day to care for many patients with COVID-19, and our leaders are still juggling staff to ensure safe and quality health care is provided no matter why you visit us.

I know many New Brunswickers are tired of wearing a mask, tired of not being able to socially visit a friend in hospital, and tired of following any COVID-19-related restriction.

And I understand that – it certainly has been a long and tough two years. However, our health care system and our nurses and health care providers are not quite ready to return to the pre-COVID normal. 

I, on behalf of Horizon, support the call to action of New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU) president Paula Doucet, who, in an article earlier this month called on New Brunswickers to continue to follow good public health practices, just as you’ve done the last two years.

We couldn’t agree more.  

Our nurses have been the glue that has held our fragile system together during the course of the pandemic. They need your support to continue to provide safe and quality care to New Brunswickers, just as we undoubtedly need them to be healthy and respected in their workplace.

The best — and easiest — actions you can take to support our nurses, all health care providers and New Brunswickersis to continue to follow these good public health practices: Get vaccinated. Wash your hands. Wear a mask, especially in indoor settings. Practice physical distancing when possible. Stay home when you’re feeling unwell.

We believe that’s not a lot to ask, and we’re committed to doing our part to both protect the populations we serve — New Brunswickers who are often at their most vulnerable — and the staff who care for them, even as provincial restrictions are eased.

These measures – such as screening, masking, visitor restrictions, vaccination policies, testing requirements and recommendations for staff and physicians who travel, and enhanced infection and prevention control measures – have become a life-saver for not only New Brunswickers but for our system to be able to run as best as it can. This includes resuming elective and non-urgent surgeries. It also gives us space, time and resources to continually improve our system, attract and retain nurses and physicians, and make New Brunswick health care better for all.

On behalf of all health care providers in New Brunswickers, I hope you take this message to heart. Thank you for all of the support you’ve shown us over the last two years.

Dr. John Dornan

President and CEO

Horizon Health Network