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Canada Doctor linked to Campbellton COVID-19 outbreak was planning to leave his practice

13:41  03 june  2020
13:41  03 june  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

Doctor connected to COVID-19 outbreak in Campbellton, N.B., suspended

  Doctor connected to COVID-19 outbreak in Campbellton, N.B., suspended The doctor connected to a new outbreak of COVID-19 cases in northern New Brunswick has been suspended by the hospital where he works, Global News has learned.Dr. Ed Schollenberg, the Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick, confirmed a male doctor is at the centre of the outbreak. He worked at Campbellton Regional Hospital, which is now closed to the public.

The doctor at the centre of a COVID - 19 outbreak in the Campbellton , N.B., area says he's not "What was I supposed to do?" he said in French. " Leave her there alone?" Ngola said he drove straight there and back with He said none of his family members had any COVID - 19 symptoms at the time.

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Dr. Jean Robert Ngola, also known as Dr. Ngola Monzinga, has worked in Campbellton since 2013 and has about 2,000 patients, roughly 1,500 of them active. © Guy LeBlanc/Radio-Canada Dr. Jean Robert Ngola, also known as Dr. Ngola Monzinga, has worked in Campbellton since 2013 and has about 2,000 patients, roughly 1,500 of them active.

The doctor at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton region was planning to leave his practice before the outbreak started, according to the head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick.

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola had tendered his resignation to the Campbellton Regional Hospital, effective Aug. 1, said Dr. Ed Schollenberg, the registrar of the provincial licensing body for doctors.

"That was a week or two before this whole mess hit," said Schollenberg, who was copied on a letter from the hospital, accepting Ngola's resignation.

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He said he believed it was on May 18. The first case in the COVID-19 cluster was publicly reported on May 21. Before then, it had been two weeks since the province had an active case.

a sign on the side of a building: Dr. Jean Robert Ngola had tendered his resignation to the Campbellton Regional Hospital, effective Aug. 1. © Shane Fowler/CBC Dr. Jean Robert Ngola had tendered his resignation to the Campbellton Regional Hospital, effective Aug. 1.

There are now 13 people infected, including five elderly residents in an Alzheimer's unit at a long-term care facility in Atholville and a personal support worker. Five people are in hospital, including one in intensive care.

Schollenberg doesn't know what Ngola's plans were after roughly seven years of practising in Campbellton. But a doctor who gives up their hospital privileges can no longer practise in the province, he said.

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There are 12 active cases of COVID - 19 in New Brunswick, all of them linked to the cluster in the Campbellton area. Officials have said the outbreak The health-care worker believed to be the first patient in the outbreak has been suspended from his position, after it's believed he came in contact

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Nine days after giving his notice, Ngola, who is also known as Ngola Monzinga, was suspended by the Vitalité Health Network. The province has since asked the RCMP to investigate a trip he took to Quebec and his failure to self-isolate to determine whether charges are warranted.

a man wearing glasses: Dr. Ed Schollenberg, registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick, said all he knows about the case are the two letters he received - notice of Ngola's resignation and notice of his suspension. © Graham Thompson/CBC Dr. Ed Schollenberg, registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick, said all he knows about the case are the two letters he received - notice of Ngola's resignation and notice of his suspension.

Ngola, in his first media interview since the outbreak started, told Radio-Canada's program La Matinale on Tuesday he's not sure whether he picked up the coronavirus during the trip to Quebec or from a patient in his office.

He made an overnight return trip to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter because her mother had to travel to Africa for her own father's funeral, he said.

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He drove straight there and back with no stops and had no contact with anyone, he said, and none of his family members had any COVID-19 symptoms at the time.

He did not self-isolate upon returning, he said. He went to work at the Campbellton Regional Hospital the next day.

"Maybe it was an error in judgment," said Ngola, pointing out that workers, including nurses who live in Quebec, cross the border each day with no 14-day isolation period required.

"Who hasn't made an error in judgment?" he said.

Ngola said he decided to speak out because he's become the target of racist verbal attacks daily and false reports to police, and he feels abandoned by Public Health officials.

Emailing every day but no complaint

Schollenberg said he was advised by Vitalité of Ngola's suspension the same day it took effect but was not given any information about the reason.

"It wasn't until it became widely know that we found out what this was related to," he said. "I know what I know from the media."

Although Schollenberg has received "a few [emails] every day since all of this started" from citizens calling on the college to suspend Ngola, he said he can't practise anywhere in the province while he's suspended by Vitalité.

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The college can't launch an investigation without a formal complaint, said Schollenberg. Usually, it's a patient who files such a complaint.

"That still might happen, I don't know. It's perfectly open for somebody, if they think he was the source of their infection, they could complain to us."

But the college would have limited access to information from the hospital, he said.

The college could also generate its own complaint, said Schollenberg. "But on the other hand, if you're going to complain, you've got to have some facts. And the only information I have is either the stuff that's on social media or the stuff that's been reported."

a house that is parked on the side of a road: The infected Alzheimer unit at the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville has its own entrance and there is no contact between it and the attached independent living apartments, the facility's owner has said. © Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada The infected Alzheimer unit at the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville has its own entrance and there is no contact between it and the attached independent living apartments, the facility's owner has said.

Twelve of the province's 13 cases have been linked to the travel-related case to date, according to Public Health officials. One case remains under investigation.

The policy for any health-care workers who travel outside the province for any reason is to self-isolate for 14 days, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, has said. "It is mandatory."

Ngola did not say during the morning interview what he told officials at the New Brunswick border about his reason for travel, or what they told him about requirements to self-isolate upon entering the province.

Nor did he indicate what, if any, followup he had from border officials.

He said he received a call from a Public Health official on May 25 informing him a patient he had seen on May 19 had tested positive for COVID-19.

He cancelled his shift at the hospital that night and got a test for himself and his daughter, he said. Neither of them were showing symptoms, but they both tested positive.

Doctor blamed for COVID-19 outbreak in New Brunswick seeks apology from premier .
FREDERICTON — The doctor being blamed for triggering a COVID-19 outbreak in northern New Brunswick says he was not "patient zero" and wants an apology from Premier Blaine Higgs. A lawyer for Dr. Jean Robert Ngola has written an 11-page letter to the premier, calling on Higgs to apologize. The letter says Ngola is seeking civility and respect in the public debate and wants to know how his private health information came to be released in socialA lawyer for Dr. Jean Robert Ngola has written an 11-page letter to the premier, calling on Higgs to apologize.

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