** Update April 26, 2023: we have received a new shipment, and now have test kits back in stock again **
The Cathedral has enrolled in the Stop the Spread program, a collaboration of the Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada, an initiative that was recently promoted to New Brunswick churches by the NB Anglican.
Under the program, the Cathedral Office receives regular shipments of COVID-19 at-home rapid test kits, which are available for pick-up by members of the congregation, community groups which meet in the Hall, and the public. The take-home kits are also offered to guests in need during the monthly outreach program for people in need.
In addition, high quality masks (KN95 respirators) have been delivered, and are available in several locations in the Cathedral and Hall. These masks fit securely and are very effective at reducing the spread of airborne viruses like COVID-19, which linger in the air of poorly ventilated rooms. Members of the congregation and visitors are encouraged to help themselves to the masks.
No appointment is necessary to pick-up test kits and masks. The public is invited to take what they need from the ledge in the hall lobby or the entry table in the Cathedral. The Cathedral (150 Church Street) and Cathedral Memorial Hall (168 Church Street) are open most non-holiday weekdays until approximately 5:00 p.m., plus select evenings during community and congregational events. If you need assistance, Cathedral office hours are weekdays 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon.
Public health professionals caution that COVID-19 and other illnesses increase when more time is spent indoors during cold winter months. They recommend caring for others by masking, staying home when sick, and testing. They hope that these practices will also help to reduce the strain on our health care system, as New Brunswick hospitals are facing strain and long wait times in emergency departments.
Retired nurse and Cathedral Health Ministry team member Marilyn Lewell encourages the use of rapid tests to detect illness. “Please pick up a box of tests to have on-hand in case you get sick. It will save last minute trips when you feel ill.”
"We continue to be grateful for the vigilance of our Health Ministry committee," says Sally Dibblee, Bishop and Chapter Chair of Health and Pastoral Care. "We are truly blessed. They have shown genuine concern and care for our parishioners throughout the Pandemic."
If you receive a negative rapid test result but continue to have symptoms, mask and test again in a few days, as it takes time for your body to accumulate enough virus to show up positive on a test. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “the accuracy of a test can vary depending on when your sample is taken during the course of your illness. If you're tested too soon after you were exposed to COVID-19, there may not be enough virus in your body for an accurate result.”
Many doctors and epidemiologists are now recommending that people using at-home rapid test kits take a throat swab, cheek swab and nasal swab (with the same Q-tip), as this method appears to be more accurately recognizing the new COVID-19 variants.
If you test positive, New Brunswick Public Health recommends that you:
- Register your positive result online to help officials understand the level of circulating illness
- Notify your close contacts
- Stay home and work from home if possible
- Open a window or door to improve indoor ventilation
- Access COVID medication if eligible and necessary
- Wear a multi-layer well-fitting mask, physical distance, and avoid gatherings for 5-10 days after leaving home
Since people can become infected with COVID-19 more than once, the public is recommended to test when symptoms are present, and keep their vaccinations up to date. Vaccines have been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and lessen the incidence of hospitalizations. Vaccination appointments are available in many locations throughout New Brunswick.
Rapid test kits may also be picked up at New Brunswick Public Health kit distribution centres.