Tim Houston, PCs: ‘Vaccinate residents and restrict movement between care facilities’

Some seniors in long-term care facilities are still waiting for their vaccination, while some of the people caring for them are forced to work in multiple locations.

After Glasgow Hall in Dartmouth saw a second staff member test positive for COVID-19 on the weekend, PC Leader Tim Houston wants to ensure that there is a plan in place to prioritize the safety of residents across the province.

“We were told that the plan would vaccinate seniors in our nursing homes first,” says Houston. “But the province moved on to other age groups, and many seniors are still waiting.”

Nova Scotia has had the slowest per-capita vaccine rollout of any province. They have also not confirmed if everyone at Glasgow Hall has been fully vaccinated. PC MLA Barbara Adams worked in a seniors facility during the pandemic and has continued to advocate for appropriate staffing levels. She notes that staff moving between seniors facilities was a problem at Northwood last year, and could be again.

“After some fine reporting last week showed us the horrors of what really happened at Northwood, Nova Scotians would like to know what the government is doing to ensure these facilities have all the tools they need,” says Adams.

“If that means paying staff more so they don’t have to work in multiple places and can stop the spread, then that’s an idea well worth implementing.”

Houston and the PCs have also been calling for vulnerable populations with pre-existing conditions to be vaccinated in priority. In addition to rejecting pandemic pay for many of those frontline staff working with seniors, the Premier has rejected prioritizing transplant recipients and those with chronic conditions.

Houston would like the government to do what they said they would do.

“The Premier is now promising that everyone will be partially vaccinated by June, but he still hasn’t got shots in the arms of those who need them most,” says Houston. “We know he would rather turn vaccinations political with new promises, but I would rather that he keep his promise to seniors in long-term care who are still waiting for their shots.”