March 27 2020 COVID 19 Update
Canadian Cases of COVID 19 as of 12 pm March 23, 2020
Employers should be accessing these resources and working with their workers. If you haven't already you should be telling your team:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just washed their hands
3. Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
4. If possible, stay home if you are sick
5. Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centers if they are sick
6. It is still recommended that you get a flu shot if you haven't already as the flu virus is still circulating in the community
7. Keep workplaces clean and hygienic – increase the frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, keyboards, mouse, phones, desks, computers, seating areas, lunch tables, kitchens, washrooms, etc.
8. Social distancing - limit the number of people you come into close contact with - maintain a 1-2 metre distance from each other, unless there is a physical barrier (e.g., cubicle, Plexiglas window).
Many questions are rising now as to employee and employer rights and each company will be sorting through some of these questions on a daily basis as the disease progresses. Top of mind is the compensation question in case of sickness or quarantine. To help you through some of these questions here are a few law firm resources. Check out:
1. Hicks Morley - "Questions & Answers for Employers" March 14
2. Mathews Dinsdale - CTV interviews on COVID 19 & the Workplace - Employer & Employee Rights
3. Emond Harnden - "Planning for COVID-19 in the workplace - obligations & considerations for employers"
Additional Measures for Construction sites recommended by Cobalt Safety
- Incorporate a Health and Safety Questionnaire and Control measure for COVID 19 on-site. See page example below
- Have all workers who come to the site complete this until the entire site has been accounted for. All new workers and visitors should complete this before entering the project.
- Increase the cleaning of on-site washrooms as this is an area where workers may frequent and a tighter space for surface contacts. If you cannot get outside service, dedicate the task to a team member if possible.
- Advise workers to wear gloves as often as possible while at work.
- Encourage workers prior to eating, taking refreshments or smoking to wash their hands.
- Provide more hand washing stations or clean up facilities.
- Each contractor with an on-site office trailer or lunchroom should be doing daily surface cleanings with Lysol or other sanitation products.
- Encourage all workers to participate in keeping the project safe and open.
- Follow all Ontario Government requirements or recommendations.
https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-pec-poster-en-2020-03-09.pdf (Poster recommended to place on your health and safety communication board)
Ontario Ministry of Health Information Sheet (Available in Multiple Languages)
Employment Standards Amendment Act 2020 - https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/employment-standards-amendment-act-infectious-disease-emergencies-2020.html
Symptoms and treatment
Symptoms range from mild – like the flu and other common respiratory infections – to severe, and can include:
- difficulty breathing
Complications from the 2019 novel coronavirus can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own.
- drink plenty of fluids
- get rest and sleep as much as possible
- try a humidifier or a hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough
If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms
How to protect yourself
Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre.
There is no vaccine available to protect against the 2019 novel coronavirus.
There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses. Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health:
- wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- sneeze and cough into your sleeve
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- avoid contact with people who are sick
- stay home if you are sick
If you are travelling to an area known to have cases of coronavirus, be sure to avoid:
- high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets and areas where animals may be slaughtered
- contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds
- surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them
2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) self-assessment
If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.
If you are feeling unwell with any of the following symptoms:
- Fever, new cough or difficulty breathing (or a combination of these symptoms)?
- Muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose or diarrhea? Symptoms in young children may also be non-specific (for example, lethargy, poor feeding).
And have experienced any of the following:
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
- Does someone you are in close contact with have COVID-19 (for example, someone in your household or workplace)?
- Are you in close contact with a person who is sick with respiratory symptoms (for example, fever, cough or difficulty breathing) who recently travelled outside of Canada?
If you answered yes to these questions, you should seek clinical assessment for COVID-19 over the phone.
The majority of COVID-19 illnesses are mild. A clinician can help guide whether you will require further care or potential testing in person. Please use one of the following options:
- Contact your primary care provider (for example, family doctor). Let them know that you have used this self-assessment tool.
- Contact Telehealth Ontario at
1-866-797-0000 and speak with a registered nurse. Let them know that you have used this self-assessment tool.
If you start to experience worsening symptoms, please visit your local emergency department. Call before you go and let them know you have used this self-assessment tool.
If you answered no to these questions, it is unlikely that you have COVID-19.
- Continue to monitor your health for a full 14 days after your return to Ontario or have contact with someone who is ill. If you develop any new symptoms, please seek clinical assessment and testing for COVID-19.
- Learn more about self-monitoring.