COVID-19: Provincial Update; Eastern and Western Health

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PROVINCIAL UPDATE

  • There are 20 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 102 cases province-wide.
  • One person has been hospitalized.
  • 68 of the cases are directly or indirectly related to a service at Caul’s funeral home in St. John’s last week.
  • Health-care facilities in the four health regions are down to one access point per building with security on site for screening.
  • Government is working on a plan to get income support and other cheques to people on April 1. Mail delivery continues to be shut down in St. John’s due to a positive test for an employee.
  • The government is looking at moving patients to long term care, and other facilities they wouldn’t normally use, in the event that bed capacity becomes an issue.  Currently, since all elective procedures were cancelled almost two weeks ago, there are no issues with bed capacity.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Provincial Measures; Eastern and Western Health

gmcneil Occupational Health & Safety

PROVINCIAL UPDATE

  • There are 15 new cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Health region, which brings the provincial total to 82.
  • Ages range from 8 to 80, and all are recovering at home. There have been no hospitalizations to date.
  • Testing is now being done in the province’s microbiology lab, rather than Winnipeg.
  • The provincial legislature has resumed sitting to debate legislation related to COVID-19.
  • Proposed amendments to the Labour Standards Act include a leave of absence without pay and job protection for employees affected by COVID-19.
  • Other proposed amendments include protection from eviction for tenants who cannot pay rent because of COVID-19, and measures to insure the delivery of government services such as health care.
  • New ferry restrictions are in place limiting passenger numbers, requiring passengers to stay in vehicles and allowing only essential travel.
  • Businesses with government contracts are required to continue to employ employees who were hired prior to the health emergency declaration, as government continues to pay the companies.
  • Home support workers are considered essential workers and should check with the government website under resources for information on how to work in this environment.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Provincial, Federal and Regional Measures

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PROVINCIAL UPDATE

  • There are 32 new presumptive cases of COVID-19. One of these is in the Western Health region, making it the first in this area. The other 31 cases are in the Eastern Health region.
  • This brings the total number of cases in the province to 67.
  • New measures to prevent the spread of the virus include cancelling driver’s licences for people who defy orders to self-isolate.
  • The province will allow limited operation of regulated child-care services for children aged 1-13. This service will be provided at no cost to help support essential workers who have no other options. This includes health-care workers, paramedics, police, corrections officers, firefighters, early childhood educators and other public servants required to work during the pandemic. An application form is available at gov.nl.ca/covid-19/.
  • $500,000 has been allotted for food security for those in jeopardy.  A task force is looking at options for distribution.
  • DRL Bus Lines has been taken off the road effective tonight.

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COVID-19: Workplace measures to prevent exposure to infectious viruses

gmcneil Occupational Health & Safety

Workers in some sectors (for example, health care and transportation) have a greater likelihood of exposure to viruses and other disease-causing agents. Employers have a general duty to take every precaution reasonable to protect workers from hazards in their workplaces. Employers in these sectors should already have effective plans in place for regular day-to-day interactions.

When new viruses are identified, employers should follow a hazard-assessment methodology, that looks at the virus and considers if existing controls are appropriate. Assessment should always be in consultation with health and safety committees or worker representatives. The goal of prevention plans must be to eliminate exposure to the infectious virus as much as possible.

CUPE is calling on all workplaces to be proactive in preventing the spread of COVID-19, by implementing the following practices:

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Provincial Measures; Eastern and Western Health

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Up-to-date information on the coronavirus, including how to recognize symptoms and how to stop transmission is available at: cupe.ca/coronavirus.

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

  • As of March 24, there are 35 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The 11 new presumptive cases are all within the Eastern Health region.
  • The Chief Medical Officer of Health has ordered closures of all private health clinics, with the exception of physicians and nurse practitioners. Clinicians can reopen for emergencies.
  • Dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists, dietitians, chiropractors, psychologists, registered massage therapists, osteopaths, dental hygienists, acupuncturists and audiologists are expected to close clinics as well.
  • The premier has asked all non-essential businesses to close to stop the spread of the virus
  • Residents have been asked to socialize only when necessary, in groups of less than 10.

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Health Coalitions’ Joint Statement on COVID-19 and Public Health Care

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The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the extent to which our individual health is dependent on the health of everyone in our community. Public healthcare is our best defense against this crisis and others like it. However, our ability to endure crises and care for each other has been eroded through decades of austerity budgets, privatization and inadequate planning. Even during “normal times,” the health care system is at capacity.

While health care workers and communities are struggling to support each other, corporate interests are trying to profit. This must be resisted. The solution is not privatization. Instead, we should be strengthening universal health care and our collective ability to care for one another.

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COVID-19: Updates from Government; Eastern and Western Health

gmcneil Occupational Health & Safety

We know this is a very difficult time for public sector workers in all sectors — those on the front lines and behind the scenes, those who have been ordered to work from home, those working without child care, and those who are facing layoffs, not to mention the general anxiety as our world as we know it changes hour by hour. Staff and union executives are working very hard to make sure important information is shared with our members and that members’ concerns are responded to as quickly as possible.

I have been attending conference calls with government and other unions on a regular basis and our concerns are being heard. These meetings will continue as long as necessary as we work out the details of how this pandemic will be managed with minimal harm to public sector employees.

We appreciate everything you are doing to hold it together. Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything I can do to help.

Please read the important information below for the latest updates from Eastern and Western Health.

Stay safe, and be well,

Sherry Hillier
CUPE NL President

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COVID-19 and Income Supports for Workers Q and A

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What is your situation? 

I am an employee with COVID-19 and/or in isolation: 

  • Your employer may have a short-term disability or sick leave program that you need to apply for before applying for EI Sickness Benefits. Check your collective agreement or contact your CUPE local.
  • If you have worked more than 600 hours in the past year or since your last EI claim, you qualify for EI sickness benefits. For more information on EI Sickness Benefits, check out the section on EI below.
  • If you have not worked more than 600 hours in the past year or since your last EI claim, the federal government is providing an Emergency Care Benefit, which will provide benefits comparable to EI for up to 15 weeks. More details will be forthcoming from the Federal government.
  • Your job will be protected during this leave of absence by federal and provincial legislation.

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COVID-19: EASTERN HEALTH UPDATE

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Important information from Eastern Health President and CEO, David Diamond

Please know that the leadership group at Eastern Health is committed to supporting your safety and well-being. We continue to work closely with federal and provincial organizations on pandemic planning efforts, as well as Workplace, Health and Safety, Infection Prevention and Control and other teams, within the structure of the Emergency Operations Centre to keep everyone safe. We are also connected in with the provincial government, through the Department of Health and Community Services, and are committed to regular meetings with unions to address employee issues.

Taking care of yourselves, your families and those around you is more important than ever. Please know that we are continuing to explore work for home options for those staff who are not needed in our facilities at this time, and will share more information as it becomes available. As the situation unfolds over the next days, weeks and months, I encourage you to seek assistance and/or participate in any of the following as you see necessary:

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