COVID-19 Personal Care Reminder

Written by USW 9511 Admin on Thursday October 29, 2020

This is a reminder to be diligent in protecting yourself while at work, and steps you should be focusing on to keep your risk of being further impacted by COVID-19 - either through infection or required self-isolation.

Over the past few weeks, new COVID-19 infections have been increasing across the province.  It is very important all members are remaining diligent in following proper protocols to keep themself and their coworkers safe.  Despite reminders from Serco and the Union, there continues to be reports of members in offices becoming complacent regarding various safety measures and increasing the chance of infection at the workplace.

 

Members are reminded to wear their face coverings whenever possible, and to make sure the face covering covers your chin, mouth, and nose while being worn.  Face coverings should not require constant adjustment while being worn, and illl-fitting face coverings should be replaced.  Also, masks with valves on them have also been determined to be unsuitable for source transmission suppression, and members should cease wearing these masks.

 

Members should be mindful of their proximity to other employees.  For example, examiners sitting in “their” seat during lunch or breaks beside another employee while other seating is available should be avoided.  Serco has attempted to schedule staggered times to mitigate crowding during break and lunch periods.  If there is no way to maintain sufficient space at your scheduled break time, speak with your supervisor about how that situation can be adjusted.  If this is a continual issue, it may need to be escalated through  a Health and Safety Rep, Union Steward, or your Relationship Manager.

 

Anyone feeling ill should not be reporting into work.  Current COVID-19 public health guidance states the primary infectious stage is around the onset of symptoms.  When symptoms first arrive people are likely at their most infectious, and are believed to be suitably infectious for the two days preceding that.  Taking a day or two to see if symptoms improve extends the period other coworkers may contract the illness, as there is already a two-day lag at symptom onset.

 

Over the past few weeks, there have been a few members directed by various public health agencies to self-isolate following close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case.  “Close contact” in the workplace is defined as being closer than two meters for 15 minutes or more, direct physical contact (such as a hug or handshake), or being coughed/sneezed on while conversing in close proximity.  Close contact is not considered when the two-meter distance is maintained, you work at the same location but do not work together, briefly have a chat while distanced, or passing a person quickly in a hallway.

 

Properly following safety measures, especially face coverings and distancing, is the best way to not only protect your health, but also protect your income.  Public health agencies can issue orders requiring people to self-isolate and stay away from work.  The fewer people you are determined to have close contact with, including coworkers, the less likely you are to contract COVID-19, and the less likely you may be forced to self-isolate even if you do not develop symptoms.  Reducing your close contacts between staff as much as possible may be the difference between being classified as high risk and requiring self-isolation, or being designated low-risk and being directed to monitor for symptoms, and otherwise limit disruption to your life.  

 

The nature of this disease unfortunately allows people to unknowingly transmit it before they become aware they are infected.  Follow the prescribed protocols in all aspects of your work, and we will eventually get through this with the least complications possible..

For additional information on Close Contacts, Contact Tracing, and Risk Assessments, you can head to these resources:

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/main/2020/09/covid-19-contact-tracing-risk-assessment.pdf?la=en

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/contact_mngmt/management_cases_contacts.pdf

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_workplace_outbreak_guidance.pdf