With six cases of COVID-19 confirmed at a Moncton apartment complex, the landlord says the tenants in all 102 units are "adhering to public health guidelines and being respectful and co-operative."
Dan Sampson, director of property management with Killam Properties, was notified of two confirmed cases on Jan. 14, and of four additional cases a few days later.
Since then, all Killam Properties staff have been following directives from Public Health.
"They did recommend that all of our staff be tested, which they've all been tested and they've come back negative, thankfully. But they've also recommended that every tenant in the building be tested as well."
Sampson said notices from Public Health were delivered to tenants, and signs immediately went up advising that all common areas were closed, and limiting the elevators and laundry rooms to one person at a time.
"We immediately stepped up our already stepped-up cleaning protocols," Sampson said. "We've stepped up our cleaning protocols to those areas that would be high-touch areas like the front doors, the elevator buttons, the laundry rooms."
Few details known
Sampson said Public Health officials have shared no information with Killam Properties about which tenants have tested positive.
"Other than there are confirmed cases in the building, the six in total, they have not told us who they are or if they're confined to one unit or spread over six units. They've only told us the number of cases in the building, I think, to protect the privacy of the individuals."
In an email Wednesday, Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said that in such cases, Public Health reaches out to close contacts of the confirmed case to determine whether they have symptoms of COVID-19. They are then directed to self-isolate for 14 days and, if they have symptoms, to get tested.
As well, property managers are asked to follow their existing COVID-19 operational plan and to clean and disinfect high-use touch points and common areas, such as elevator buttons, door handles, stairwell railings and laundry room equipment.
"There is no evidence to date confirming that the virus can spread through ventilation or air exchange systems," Macfarlane said.
Visits to the building are being discouraged, Sampson said, through signage, while the live-in managers are providing help and support to any tenants who need it.
"The buildings are very, very quiet I can tell you since we found this information out," he said. "We can't restrict people from entering or visiting or bringing something to our tenants but we certainly discourage any social gatherings at this point."
There are 88 active cases of COVID-19 in the Moncton region health zone, which remains in the red phase of recovery.
In the red phase, people are restricted to a single household bubble, although that can be extended to include a caregiver, or a family member that needs support.
Sampson said tenants in the Lorentz Drive buildings include seniors, families and young working people.
"What I can tell you is that the residents have been very compliant and accommodating with this news — it's obviously upsetting but we've been dealing with COVID for quite some time now so I think that it's not totally surprising."
Sampson said this is the first outbreak of COVID-19 Killam Properties has had in an apartment building. He is hoping Public Health officials will notify him when everyone has recovered and it's over.