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

gmcneil Occupational Health & Safety

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.

EASTERN HEALTH

Operations Updates

  • The COVID-19 testing clinic at St. Teresa’s School in St. John’s performed tests on 46 patients on March 23. Work continues on plans around setting additional clinics throughout the region.
  • We are working to set up a number of site/region-specific Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) across the region to further support and coordinate ongoing work related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We are working to enable employees to temporarily work from home, or depending on operational needs, release them to go home. Employees approved to work from home, or remain at home, should understand that they may be called on to work regularly scheduled shifts as needed in the workplace.
  • Eastern Health’s Central Occupational Health Line experienced technical issues over the past few days due to the high volume of calls, but this has since been resolved. Employees and physicians unable to get through on the phone at 709-777-7777, pathway 3, then pathway 2, can email:occhealth@easternhealth.ca.
  • Reminder: employees and physicians who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should not come to work. Please reach out to Eastern Health’s Central Occupational Health, as listed above, for more information.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • New online requisition form – There is an online process for the release of controlled supplies in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff are advised to use this form moving forward.
  • We are making good progress in identifying and securing alternate sources for the supply of personal protective equipment.

Privacy

  • Staff and physicians are reminded of the critical importance of protecting and respecting staff and patient privacy and confidentiality at all times, and particularly as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitor Restrictions Updates

  • The provincial government announced that long-term care homes province-wide are closed to all visitors to protect elderly residents, and those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions who are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
  • This directive includes nursing homes, personal care home and community care homes.
  • Visitation restrictions are reviewed on a regular basis, and changes are made based on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Service Updates

  • Patients with urgent and emergent medical imaging appointments, such as X-ray, CT and MRI appointments, will be contacted by Eastern Health to confirm their appointment. Patients whose appointments in medical imaging have not been confirmed, should not come to our facilities. Patients with questions should call our temporary hospital appointments line at 709-752-4500, or toll-free at 1-833-752-4500, from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Breast screening appointments are not proceeding at this time. Patients whose appointments are affected will be contacted directly by Eastern Health staff and all cancelled appointments will be rebooked at a future date.
  • Due to the high number of calls to the provincial NL Health Line 811, access to Poison Control services will now occur directly through the IWK Regional Poison Centre in Halifax by calling at 1-902-470-8161.

Healthy Workplace Updates

  • We are working to identify mechanisms to support our employees as we manage this pandemic and the recovery that will undoubtedly follow. Our Healthy Workplace team would love your thoughts and perspective on psychological support around COVID-19 in Eastern Health. Start survey here.

WESTERN HEALTH

  • There are no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Western region as of today.
  • All staff are asked to wear their Western Health ID badge when entering Western Health facilities. You may be asked to show your ID to Security.

Operations Update

  • Assessment and Treatment (Flu) clinics will open Wednesday, March 25 at the Corner Brook Civic Centre Studio and at the Bay St George Medical Clinic by appointment only. These clinics are established to divert people with flu or respiratory symptoms from family practice offices and emergency departments. Individuals will be referred to the clinics through 811, family doctors’ offices, community health or community support services.
  • Long Term Care has launched virtual visits in some locations and will expand to all LTC sites. Virtual visits are being explored for acute care patients also.
  • Occupancy in acute care has been reduced to 40% across the region.
  • We are working closely with home support agencies to keep people at home safely.
  • Staff, Managers, Physicians and Chiefs have shown tremendous leadership and their efforts are appreciated.