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COVID-19 Update: Process for positive cases in the workplace

Colleagues,

The difficult public health situation in our region continues to create stress and anxiety. I understand it’s especially challenging for our front-line colleagues working to deliver important public services.

The municipality continues to implement measures and processes to safeguard the health and safety of employees and residents. Further to this, a municipal statement was issued to media yesterday afternoon regarding Halifax Transit service during the COVID-19 pandemic, which outlines the significant efforts to enhance safety for bus operators and transit riders.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve established a process that outlines required steps to be taken when a positive COVID-19 case is identified in the workplace. This process was developed in consultation with public health and continues to be updated to reflect their most recent direction.

To ensure appropriate employee privacy protocols are respected, the municipality does not release specifics about any employee who may test positive for COVID-19. The municipality will advise impacted staff of any positive test results and will engage in cleaning protocols to reduce the spread of the virus.

If any municipal employee who has been in a municipal facility in the previous 14 days tests positive for COVID-19, public health will be in contact with the individual and will complete contact tracing to identify all those who have been in close contact. If public health’s investigation determines a public notification is needed, they will issue.

Below is our current process supported by Public Health for a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace:

1. COVID-19 positive employee notifies manager/supervisor and workplace health.

2. Manager/supervisor notifies Executive Director (ED) and the Assistant Chief, Emergency Management/Community Risk Reduction. Assistant Chief gathers all pertinent information – dates/times/locations of employee’s work travels for sharing with public health for contact tracing. Positive employee’s name remains anonymous other than to manager/supervisor, Executive Director, Assistant Chief and workplace health.

3. Executive Director or delegate contacts Building Maintenance Services or after hours, 311, for cleaning of work locations including vehicles.

4. Assistant Chief notifies CAO, Senior Advisor to CAO, and all Executive Directors (for awareness of possible exposure where staff travel among work locations) of employee positive case, cc Managing Director, Corporate Communications.

  • Assistant Chief advises as to which ED(s) need to notify their teams, and provides the proposed message based on communications template.
  • All EDs are responsible for reviewing the information and advising Assistant Chief if their business unit should be included in the notification process.
  • EDs are responsible for issuing the notification and CCing appropriate union(s).

To help promote understanding, this information will also be shared with our union leadership and Joint Occupational Safety and Health Committees.

As always, if you have any questions please speak with your manager/supervisor.

Thank you for continuing to deliver valued public services during this unprecedented time.

Please stay safe and follow direction and guidance from Public Health.

Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

Jacques

Jacques Dubé
Chief Administrative Officer

Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is a list of important links.

Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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