FREDERICTON (GNB) – Beginning Monday, May 31, unvaccinated long-term care workers will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test every other day if they are working in a facility where less than 50 per cent of the staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable seniors in our province,” said Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch. “We are committed to ensuring we provide a safe environment for both residents and workers in our long-term care facilities.”

The Department of Social Development is introducing mandatory COVID-19 testing due to low vaccination rates among the staff in some long-term care facilities. The most recent reports indicate that vaccination rates remain below 50 per cent for staff in 99 of the province’s 563 long-term care facilities. This means there are about 1,100 workers who have not yet received at least one dose of the vaccine. Test kits and training will be provided.

“This situation is unacceptable and does not align with our mandate to ensure the frail and vulnerable seniors in our care are in a safe environment,” Fitch said. “There are still outbreaks occurring in long-term care facilities, and this is putting the health of many seniors at risk. We have no choice but to impose additional measures to protect the residents living in these facilities.”

Information on vaccination rates in long-term care facilities is available online.