COVID-19: Provincial Update; Eastern and Western Health

gmcneil Occupational Health & Safety

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.

EASTERN HEALTH

Appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment

We are using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) significantly more than our usual rate. While there is a heightened level of anxiety around COVID-19, we need to work together to ensure that PPE is used only when necessary according to the guidelines established by the Chief Provincial Medical Officer of Health.

While Eastern Health has a sufficient supply of PPE at this time, and we are working diligently to secure alternative suppliers and sources, it is still essential that employees and physicians use PPE correctly – to conserve stock for when it is needed. Please make sure you are using the right type of PPE for every situation.

The safety of our staff, their families and those we care for is our priority. Proper use and conservation of PPE such as gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, face shields and wipes will ensure the needed PPE is available to our colleagues as they care for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

The current rate of usage is increasing and is anticipated to increase further. Because of the global shortage, we have been managing the supply carefully but need your support to follow the guidelines that have been put in place to manage our current stock while we continue to aggressively pursue alternate sources.

If you have any ideas or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Occupational Health and Workplace Safety at 777-7777 line 3, press 2, or via email at: mysafety@easternhealth.ca.

Changes to personal health records requests

There are changes to the process for requesting personal health records as a result of reduced services related to COVID-19 pandemic operations.

Emergency requests for personal health records should be faxed to (709) 752-4186 or (709) 752-4189, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Or individuals can call (709) 752-3974 and leave a voice mail with their name and contact information. Requests for personal health records via email cannot be accepted during this time.

Individuals submitting non-urgent requests for personal health records can expect extended processing times of up to 90 days. To assist in triaging requests, Eastern Health asks that only urgent requests be submitted at this time.

Eastern Health apologizes for the inconvenience that this may cause and would like to thank individuals for their understanding at this time.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Provincial Department of Health and Community Services website at: gov.nl.ca/covid-19/.

For updates pertaining to Eastern Health’s ongoing services, please visit Eastern Health’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. General contact information is available at: easternhealth.ca/contactus.

WESTERN HEALTH

  • There is one case of COVID-19 in the Western region.
  • We had our first all staff meeting by tele/video conference today. Thank you all for attending and your continued efforts to keep everyone safe. We had an overwhelming response from staff. We plan to hold these meetings weekly and hold separate meetings by area to ensure that everyone is able to connect.

Operations Update

  • We are planning for additional temporary negative pressure rooms across the region. There will be a minimum of one negative pressure room at each site in in the region for aerosol-generating medical procedures (AGMPs).
  • Staff should not share communal food. If individual meals are delivered to staff at work, it must be delivered to a staff entrance.
  • Information relating to virtual care, including how to set up a telehealth appointment, can be found here.
  • Information relating to privacy and security for those working from home can be found here.

Human Resources Update

  • We commenced a weekly meeting with OHS committee chairpersons and Workplace Health & Safety Representatives to work collaboratively to address safety concerns.
  • As new OHS information becomes available we will share it through Safety Bulletins for staff (see the first one here).
  • We know a number of you have expressed concern about risk to your families. We have prepared a tip sheet with suggestions to minimize risk (see here) and are looking at options with our provincial teams.
  • This is a stressful time for many. Although alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs may help you relax or cope with stress, it’s important to limit or avoid use to reduce long-term impacts. You can refer to this information sheet for guidance for you, your family, and your clients.
  • We have compiled a list of HR common questions and answers received which can be found here.
  • You may email COVID-19 related questions, concerns or ideas to us at COVID19@westernhealth.nl.ca.