All Staff Email Updates:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
All Staff Email Updates
March 12, 2020
As a follow up to Jordan's email earlier today I would like to make everyone aware of what we are doing right now to respond to Covid-19. Attached you will find our Response Plan. This plan was crafted with the support of the entire Covid-19 Response team's input and suggestions.
At this time because the situation is evolving so rapidly we will primarily communicate with everyone through email as things may change before we can edit the plan. The plan guides us and serves as a path to respond to the situation as it develops.
You will also notice that we have broken the response into phases. We are currently in Phase 2 of the response. If this changes you will be made aware.
Below is an update containing information to help keep you informed and make decisions for your own health, as well as the health of the community we serve. Our objective is to ensure that our community and staff are protected.
Update 1 - March 12, 9:00 pm
Currently, Alberta is considered low risk for exposure, however, this risk could increase in the coming weeks.
Our community members may not be getting the most accurate information about Covid-19, and there will be much speculation and concern. You will become their best source of reliable information, so please support them to protect themselves and their families. You can do this by having conversations about the current situation and helping them set up contingency plans for their needs. Things will change daily and they need us to help them mitigate impacts on them.
At this time, the best response to this outbreak is good hygiene practices. For the health and safety of you and our community members please ensure you are practicing good hygiene:
To minimize the spread of any respiratory virus (including the flu/influenza and COVID-19), Alberta Health Services recommends the following:
Wash your hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if hands are not visibly dirty.
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag.
If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
Wash your hands immediately after coughing and/or sneezing.
Stay home if you’re sick.
Clean and disinfect surfaces that are shared and used often.
If you have symptoms such as a fever, cough and difficulty breathing and have traveled outside Canada or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, stay home and call Health Link 811. If you are not seriously ill, do not go to a physician’s office, a health care facility or a lab without consulting with Health Link 811 first. Call 911 if you are seriously ill and need immediate medical attention and inform them that you may have COVID-19. Please inform your supervisor immediately if you have taken any of these steps, as we may need to isolate other staff and community members.
If you become sick or are suspected of being exposed to the virus and are required to be quarantined or you are required to care for someone who is quarantined, then you will not be forced to use sick time or vacation. This is not a blanket protection (see below regarding travel). At this time, each case will be reviewed individually.
Alberta's Chief Medical Officer recommends that Albertans refrain from international travel at this time. Upon entering Canada, travelers are currently required to either monitor their symptoms or self-isolate for 14 days, depending on the countries they have visited. Based on this, until further notice, BSCS policy is as follows:
If staff is currently out of the country and returning in the future. Even if they are not presenting with symptoms, staff must remain at home for 14 days upon return from all international destinations. They will not have to use vacation for this time away. We will cover the cost or you can work from home - if possible. You may also be quarantined outside of Canada - in this case, we will strive to support you until you can safely return - this situation will have to be determined on a case by case basis. I would recommend that any managers who know that their staff are currently abroad making efforts to connect with them while they are away so that they can be made aware of the situation.
If staff currently have a trip booked out of the country and are set to leave in the next 30 days. If this is the case and you choose to travel despite the provincial recommendations not to, then upon your return you will not be permitted to return to work, even if you are not showing symptoms for 14 days. You will have to use vacation, sick time or time without pay. We strongly recommend that you DO NOT travel internationally at this time.
We are currently not providing masks to staff. At this time that is not required, nor is it likely to be an effective deterrent to the spread of the virus. We have a supply of masks that we will use when required or recommended by public health officials.
Other supplies like tissue, hand sanitizer, and Lysol wipes will become increasingly difficult to obtain and stock. We will attempt to stock these materials for all sites as best as we can.
As of March 12, 9:00 pm we have not decided to cease any operations or close any facilities. A decision like this will be based on the advice of the public health authorities and the Covid-19 response teams' dynamic risk assessment. We will update as required. However, we ask that you begin to support your manager to determine what services that you provide are essential and begin to develop a tiered approach to service delivery that allows you to reduce services in a staged manner. We will update you if a tiered approach is required.
If you have concerns or questions please go to your direct supervisor first and then to myself and/or Marliss. Updates will at this time will be provided via email as well as through your supervisor.
Take care of each other and remember to remain calm, avoid speculation and fear-mongering. Please point people to public health sources for information. We take everyone's health very seriously and will use all of our available resources to ensure that can continue to provide the quality of service and programming to our community members that they are used to.
More to come.
Ian and the Covid-19 Response Team.
We never give up even if the challenge is tough, seemingly impossible.
We stand with our community members, side by side, patiently and for as long as they want – a constant and consistent caring force.