March 3rd, 2020 COVID-19 Update

Memo to families, guardians and employees:
Prevention and Preparedness Regarding the Novel-CoronaVirus (COVID-19)

From: Executive Director and Senior Leadership of Skills Society 

Quick Facts 

While the risk to Albertans remains low, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services (AHS), and ourselves at Skills Society are taking every reasonable precaution in preparing for potential cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to ensure Skills Society employees have up-to-date information and feel well informed and equipped to navigate through the changing COVID-19 situation.

Zero Cases At Present in Alberta

As of March 2nd, 2020, there are no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Alberta at this time.

Current Risk for People in Alberta is Low

The current level of risk for people in Alberta is considered low. There are, however, cases being reported in many provinces in China and other parts of the world. 

Travellers Returning to Edmonton

If you are an employee and returning from travel

As per Skills Society Policy 2.14 it is the responsibility of all employees to report if they have been exposed to any infectious diseases. If you are an employee and returning from affected areas where you may have been exposed to COVID-19 it is your responsibility to connect with Public Health by calling Health Link at 811 for an individual exposure risk assessment and to determine when to return to work. 

If you are a family member or someone we support and returning from travel

If you are a family member or someone we support and are returning from affected areas where you may have been exposed to COVID-19 we recommend you connect with Public Health by calling Health Link at 811 for an individual exposure risk assessment and to determine appropriate precautions. 

Recommended Precautions and Prevention for Everyone

The best prevention at present is regular, thorough hand washing, disinfecting surfaces frequently touched by people and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 

 

  • Proper hand washing: Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing: Coughing or sneezing into the inner side of your elbow has shown to prevent spread of colds and flu.
  • Stay home when sick: This prevents the spread of viruses and protects people around you.
  • Remind yourself to not touch your face (eyes, nose or mouth) with unwashed hands
  • Frequently disinfect surfaces, door knobs and other frequently touched objects: Use Lysol or Clorox that states clearly on the bottle that it eliminates 99.9% of germs and viruses.

 

“Although these sound like your basic things that you do every flu season, it is really important for you to rehearse, to talk to your kids and your family, and keep practising these kinds of measures,” – Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam

Additional Required Precautions for Skills Society Employees 

Skills Society employees are required to follow Universal Precautions while at work. In addition to what you usually do to uphold universal precautions at work please now also do the following:

  • Team Leaders and Coordinators go over this document with all staff and talk with people we support about regular hand washing.
  • For the next month, or until advised otherwise, follow the provided checklist of what surfaces to wipe down daily with proper Lysol or Clorox wipes. It is the Team Leader’s responsibility to ensure someone in the home/office completes a daily cleaning of all surfaces on the checklist. *This checklist will be sent out to team leaders and coordinators separate from this memo.
  • For the next month, or until advised otherwise, encourage and remind all staff and people served about regular hand washing and avoiding touching your face (eyes, noses and mouths) with unwashed hands 
  • Ensure each home you work in has at least a week’s worth of food and supplies at all times
  • Review the “Individuals and Families Preparedness Checklist” with staff and individuals you support. *This checklist will be sent out to team leaders and coordinators separate from this memo.
  • Review the Health & Safety Guideline in section 8 of the Skills Society Health & Safety Manual

What to Do if Someone is Displaying Symptoms of COVID-19

If you are an employee of Skills Society and you or someone you support is displaying symptoms follow the steps outlined below

  • If the person is in distress or having trouble breathing, call 911 immediately
  • If the person is not in distress but is displaying signs of a common cold, and you are unsure if they need to go to the hospital or not – Call Health Link at 811
  • Follow all instructions given by Health Link
  • Contact your Team Leader or Manager immediately after receiving instructions from Health Link
  • Managers will contact their Senior Manager
  • The Senior Management Team will provide additional direction to the team as needed
  • Follow regular reporting lines for staff sick time off

Conclusion

If you are an employee of Skills Society and have questions, feel free to get in touch with your Team Leader or Manager. If you are a family member or guardian and have questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch with the manager who serves your family member or individual you support. 

As we learn more from authorities and experts about the virus we will send further updates. We appreciate your support as we navigate this together and do our best to be prepared. 

Sincerely,

 

Ben Weinlick, Executive Director and the Skills Senior Leadership Team