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Campobello Island Resident Fails COVID-19 Screening Test at the Saint John Regional Hospital
For over the past two years, the pandemic has posed a series of additional issues for Campobello Island residents who rely primarily on a bridge to Lubec, Maine followed by a 77 kilometre drive to the St. Stephen/Calais border to access the rest of New Brunswick. While the province has extended the seasonal ferry to run year-round, the ferry still doesn't run daily or in bad weather, forcing islanders to rely on a special travel exemption to access everything from essential goods to medical appointments. Kathleen Case found out the hard way that not all hospital screening staff are aware of Campobello Islanders' special travel exemption when she was flagged during her pre-screening test at the Saint John Regional Hospital on Monday.
"I could have lied, but I told the truth and said I travelled from Campobello to the US without getting out of my car to get to the hospital because the ferry doesn't run on Mondays," said Case. "I was then told I would be escorted to an isolation room to wait for my appointment."
Although both Horizon and Vitalite Health Networks continue to take extra precautions with patients who have recently travelled internationally, Horizon sent CHCO the following statement with regards to Campobello Island residents:
“All patients are continuing to be actively screened prior to entering any of our facilities. Travel from Campobello to our hospitals for care is not something that would trigger additional precautions or rescheduling of appointments.” said Horizon Health Network VP of Quality and Patient Centred-Care Margaret Melanson.
St. Croix MLA Kathy Bockus informed CHCO that she spoke to Horizon on behalf of Campobello residents and was assured that there has been a re-communication to screening staff of Islanders' special travel exemption. As for Case, she's hoping her next visit for her broken ankle will go more smoothly and that sharing her story will help ensure other islanders have their travel exemption recognized during the screening process.
"I'm a proud Canadian, and proud New Brunswicker. It's important to me to tell my story because it is already difficult enough for islanders to access healthcare, so we don't need another obstacle, especially one that isn't legitimate," says case.
Anyone who experiences difficulty with screening is asked to contact the Patient Advocate line at 1-844-225-0220.
Fully vaccinated Canadian travellers are no longer required by the federal government to wear a mask in public places for two weeks following trips to the US. The change is one of many amendments made this week to COVID-19 border rules. Another notable change: unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 5 to 11 no longer need a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada.
Charlotte County television is New Brunswick's only source for independent community television. Since 1993, CHCO-TV has been providing Southwest New Brunswick with locally-produced content made by community it serves.
The mission of CHCO-TV is to promote community media and to encourage, educate and engage residents in Southwestern New Brunswick, to use new media and technology, to improve civic involvement, learn new media skills and enhance the culture, the economy, health and quality of life in New Brunswick.