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Statement by Gerry Lowe: COVID-19

March 23, 2020News

“I’ve been fielding a lot of calls from people in my riding in the past week, mainly about COVID-19. Many of them are struggling to deal with the impact of restrictions we face, as it relates to loved ones who are in hospital or other care facilities.


People understand that they can’t go visit their parents or grandparents in the hospital, but it is heartbreaking to hear their stories. I represent an area where many people are struggling to meet their day-to-day expenses. They can’t afford to have a phone hooked up, so can’t reach out to their family members who are in a hospital or a nursing home.


It would be great if telephone carriers, perhaps in cooperation with the province and health authorities, consider hooking up phones for everyone to allow families to have that contact with loved ones and cover the costs until the restrictions on visitations are lifted.


No one expected the situation we are find ourselves in and the hardship it is creating for many families. Some of these places already have phones. They just need to be activated. I would ask the hospitals and nursing homes and the telephone carriers if they can find a way to make arrangements for these phones to be hooked up. It may be a bit to ask, but it would make a world of difference if they could get these people phones so they can keep in contact with their families.


I’ve also been hearing quite a bit about restrictions that limit prescriptions and refills to 30 days. I completely understand the policy is there to ensure there are enough drugs on hand, but it has placed a burden on seniors and people on fixed incomes.


They could get 90 pills in the past and now they can only get 30 at a time. They have to make three trips instead of one and some still have to pay a prescription charge each time. Some of these people have to get a cab to the drug store. They can’t afford it.


There is some concern that only those people on the provincial drug plan are exempt from being charged for every prescription fill up. I think the government, employers and the unions need to reach out to all the drug plan carriers and the pharmacists to make sure there are no added costs for anyone because of the 30-day rule.”


Gerry Lowe

MLA for Saint John Harbour