All Staff Email Updates:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
All Staff Email Updates
March 18, 2020
We want to be able to provide you with daily updates as things are moving rapidly. You will notice in the interest of expediency that we may be brief. Please, if you have any questions that you think might be relevant to all staff send them my way and I can try to add to the update. As always if you haven't please make sure it hasn't been covered in a previous update. All updates and other up to date news can be accessed on our website:
We are still at Level 3 of our response plan. This means we are very closely monitoring the situation for both our staff and community members. Since yesterday, AHS has confirmed 22 new cases of COVID-19. This means that 119 cases have now been identified in our province. AHS suspects that 7 of these cases are community transmission.
We know that many of our staff are worried about their job security. No staff at this time are at risk of losing their employment as a result of Covid-19. All of the policies for job protection are in place as discussed in our last emails. At this time we do not anticipate that any staff will have to be let go as a result of Covid-19. In fact, over the next 6 months, we anticipate that we may need to do recruitment to fill positions that are empty. We are an essential service and these services will need to continue. However, we also know that many of our colleagues' partners and family members are perhaps in a challenging situation. If this is you please do reach out to your manager to discuss anything that we may do to help.
Today the province announced widespread measures to support individuals who have been impacted by Covid-19. The supports are numerous and far-reaching and may impact you directly. We would urge you to take a look as there may be provisions that could impact you and your family. Here are the highlights:
$50 million to self-isolating Albertans because they meet CMO’s criteria
One-time payment, apply online at alberta.ca
Paid by the end of next week
Defer utility charges for the next three months (electricity/natural gas)
Asked municipalities to match for water
6-month moratorium on student loans (like federal government)
ATB Financial clients can apply for deferrals for up to 6 months on loans and lines of credit
ATB will work on a 1-1 basis
Credit Union members will work on a 1-1 basis for similar matters
Suspending collection of corporate income taxes until August 2020
$1.5 billion in funds in addition to federal measure
Encourage companies to provide paid leave to those in self-isolation
Additional measures announced over the next days and weeks
We know that child care continues to be a challenge for many of our staff. We are working closely with our partners in the C5 and other organizations to try and create a solution. What this will look like is still in its infancy but it will likely be small childminding pods of no more than six children supervised by a child care worker. We are looking at the safety and possibility of this in the coming days, and as soon as we have something that we think is feasible we will first reach out to staff who have articulated that they cannot find any childcare and then open it up to other staff as needed.
Letting us know what is going on
In a crisis situation we want to break down social and cultural norms that may prevent us from responding to the situation effectively. What that means is that if you see something that you think we could do better please let us know. Constructive and supportive feedback is encouraged and allows us to get your ideas to us quickly. Because everything in the world is moving quickly we're going to miss things and make mistakes, now is not the time to shrug and let it go instead our policy is let us know.
Don't let it go... Let us know!
That also goes for reminding each other to socially distance, wash our hands and report if we're sick. The old cultural norms of politely saying nothing when someone doesn't wash their hands are gone. Rather, to protect each other, we need to politely remind each other about these things. Remember this is a weak virus - it can be killed with simple hand washing so let's kill it.
Update on the Community Centre
As many of you may know, we are desperately trying to coordinate a response for individuals who are homeless and may present at the community center with Covid-19 symptoms. Sadly, we are still waiting for some government direction on this front. At this time there is no place to send individuals except to the hospital or back out into the community. Not ideal. The good news is that the leadership of the Inner-City Agencies are advocating fiercely to move the dial. We hope that we can have a more positive update on this tomorrow.
We have a solid screening process and will start over the next few days to send out staff into the community on the streets to provide information to people who may not be able to access the center.
Our Hours are currently 9 am to 3 pm with Supervised Consumption running 9 am to 7:30 pm 7 days a week. Street Outreach continues as does Crisis Diversion and the Winter Van.
Travel continues to be limited to all places across the world. Only essential travel will be allowed to the United States.
Please if you need some uplifting thoughts about this virus view this video. https://youtu.be/D_Vau7NDjQw
Also, in Chicago the penguins were allowed to visit other animals at an aquarium because it was closed to visitors. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/penguins-chicago-shedd-aquarium-closed-over-coronavirus-fears/ So there's that!
Everyone take care of yourself at work and remember to try and rest when you get home. If you are stressed, sad, anxious or just need to talk please feel free to contact our Employee Assistance Program or reach out to your manager or your peers we will need to support each other every day with this. We are strong and we will persevere.
Thanks - the Covid-19 response team.
more to come.