COVID-19 UPDATE: Provincial, Federal and Regional Measures

gmcneil Occupational Health & Safety, Uncategorized

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.

FEDERAL MEASURES: Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will cover people who have lost their job, people who are sick or quarantined, and parents who must stay home without pay to care for children. The benefit also covers workers who have no income due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will cover employees, contract workers, and self-employed workers to the tune of $2,000 per month for the next four months, backdated to March 15, 2020. Laid-off workers who have applied for EI due to coronavirus-related job losses will instead get this $2,000 benefit for up to four months, after which they will be switched-over to standard EI if they are still out of work.

EASTERN HEALTH

  • To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, staff should go directly home after their shifts and wash the clothes they wore to work.
  • We recognize that this is an unprecedented time and we would like to thank each and every one of you for your incredible efforts to keep everyone safe while ensuring that we continue to care for our sickest patients.

COVID-19 Clinic 

  • Our COVID-19 Mobile Clinic at St. Theresa’s completed 107 tests on March 24. Since March 21, a total of 212 patients have been swabbed.

Workplace Updates

  • A small number of staff, including those who work on an acute care unit at the Health Sciences Centre, have tested positive for COVID-19. Although these staff are not in the workplace, staff from Infection Prevention and Control, Public Health and Occupational Health and Workplace Safety are working together to complete contract tracing on staff, physicians and patients.
  • Please monitor any changes in your health, and if you have the slightest indication of any symptoms, stay home and report/call Occupational Health (Tel: 709-777-7777, line 3, then line 2, or email: occhealth@easternhealth.ca).
  • The following measures are in place to help reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases:
    • Deep cleaning in main areas, high contact areas, and other areas, as required.
    • Screening individuals entering health-care facilities for COVID-19 through a series of questions.
    • Reduction of entrances, entry points, and reducing the hours of operation of these entrances in Eastern Health facilities.
    • Cancelling all appointments that are not deemed urgent or emergent.
    • Encouraging the practice of social distancing.
    • Eliminating visitation in long-term care and restricting visitation in acute care facilities.
    • Restricting support persons attending appointments.
    • Providing education on COVID-19 and required personal protective equipment.
    • Facilitating work from home arrangements, as feasible, to reduce staff on sites.

Close Contact

  • If you believe that you may have come in close contact with a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 case, please call Eastern Health’s Central Occupational Health at 709-777-7777, pathway 3, then pathway 2, or email: occhealth@easternhealth.ca.
  • Once a COVID-19 positive or suspect case has been identified, a ‘close contact’ refers to a person:
    • who provided care for that individual, including health-care workers, family members or other caregivers; or
    • who had other similar close physical contact without consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment; or
    • who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact (within 2 metres) with the person while they were infectious; or
    • who had direct contact with infectious bodily fluids of the person (e.g. was coughed or sneezed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • A new online requisition form for the release of controlled supplies in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic will be available on Thursday, March 26. Managers should use the current process until further notice.
  • If you have questions or concerns around fit testing, please speak to your manager or email:  mysafety@easternhealth.ca Tel: 709 777-7777, line 3, line 3.
     

Psychological Health: Free webinars

  • ‘Parenting in a Pandemic’ – March 26, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Topics include how to talk to your children about a pandemic, the importance of structure and routine, how much video gaming is too much, how to impress upon teens the importance of social distancing from friends, ways to keep kids occupied and other useful tips. Register here.
  • ‘Self-Care during a Pandemic’ – April 2, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. During this unprecedented worldwide crisis, how can we navigate this crisis skillfully while caring for ourselves and others?  Dr. Spiegel will provide some education about why we are experiencing distress, and some practical ways to address our distress while we adjust and adapt to this scary, unusual and ever-evolving experience.  Register here.

WESTERN HEALTH

  • There will be an all staff tele/videoconference Friday, March 27 at 1:00 for any staff member to connect with senior management, and our Medical Officer of Health. Call in and GoTo information will be shared in an email to all staff.
  • Our CEO Cindy Davis, senior executive and members of the EOC are proud of everything our organization has accomplished as a team over the last couple of weeks. Thank you to all of you who continue to go above and beyond to keep our clients, patients, residents, and staff safe.

Operations Update

  • Flu Assessment and Treatment clinics opened today at the Corner Brook Civic Centre Studio and at the Bay St George Medical Clinic by appointment only. Individuals can be referred to the clinic by 811, community health, community support, physician offices and employee health.

Human Resources Update

  • In an effort to respond to staff inquires, we have compiled a list of common questions and answers which can be found here. You may also email COVID-19 related questions to COVID19@westernhealth.nl.ca.