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New Brunswick did not learn from H1N1 to prepare for COVID-19: auditor general

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s auditor general has found that lessons from the 2009 H1N1 influenza crisis were not incorporated into New Brunswick’s COVID-19 pandemic plan.

The report today by auditor Paul Martin found the roles and responsibilities of key committees were not always clearly defined or documented, although the province reacted quickly in terms of taking measures such as restricting gatherings and enforcing mask mandates.

It also found no records were maintained to support meetings of the so-called COVID core, a group of senior officials who supported the cabinet committee on pandemic measures.

Nursing homes were hardest hit by COVID-19 infections, and the auditor general found the residences lacked pandemic planning and infection prevention and control practices.

The audit found instances of non-compliance with required nursing home staffing levels, and it says the Department of Social Development lacked enforcement mechanisms.

Of the 358 New Brunswick residents who died because of the pandemic up to March 31, 2022, 90 were nursing home residents and one was a staff member.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2023.

The Canadian Press