March 12, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

Colleagues,

The health and wellness of our employees and residents is our main priority. Emergency Management and senior leadership are closely monitoring provincial and federal updates regarding COVID-19.

There are no cases of the virus in Nova Scotia at this time. Currently, there are no impacts to municipal services, including Halifax Transit.

Late this morning, however, we became aware of a staff member from the Mayor’s Office with a possible link to someone who is being tested for COVID-19. All staff in the office, including the Mayor, out of an abundance of caution, have chosen to remain at home until the person in question is tested and results are known. The office space and common areas in City Hall are being disinfected.

We ask employees to continue to practice good personal hygiene, keep their work spaces clean and when possible, avoid physical contact with others (e.g. shaking hands).

All cleaning staff in all municipal facilities have been instructed to thoroughly clean public surfaces such as door knobs, elevators and counters. Halifax Transit is also deploying additional cleaning crews to increase its cleaning schedule frequency for buses and ferries. This will remain in effect until further notice.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of this situation, we will be sending regular communications to staff through our management teams and our internal communications channels including the municipal intranet.

Travel

As of today, and until further notice, requests for business travel outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality will not be approved.

Whether travelling for work or pleasure, check the federal government travel advisories.

Based on the latest information from Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness:

  • If you’ve travelled outside Canada, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus. You should closely monitor your health for 14 days after you get back to Canada.
  • If you’ve travelled recently and you start to feel unwell, you should self-isolate. This means you should stay home, away from the publicand contact 811 for triage of your symptoms and further instructions.

As an employee of Halifax Regional Municipality, and in the interest of public safety and that of your colleagues, effective March 13, if you have travelled to a state, province or country where there have been confirmed COVID-19 cases, we are directing you to self-isolate for 14 days following the trip and do not report to work.

  • If you are in self-quarantine and pre-symptomatic, well enough to work, and your job allows you to work from home, you will be expected to work from home during this period and you will be paid for your regular hours.
  • If you are in self-quarantine and pre-symptomatic but your job does not allow you to work from home, you may draw from sick leave, vacation, TOIL and banked time.
  • If you are in self - quarantine and too sick to work, you have access to paid sick leave.
  • If you have no sick leave benefits and are in self-quarantine, you can apply for EI sick benefits with no waiting period, as per the adjustment made to address COVID-19 (released in yesterday’s news https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/how-ei-benefits-for-covid-19-quarantines-will-work).

NOTE: Please contact your supervisor or manager in any of these scenarios to make appropriate arrangements.

Health

If you are feeling unwell, please call 811 for an initial assessment.

Nova Scotia Health Authority has recently established COVID-19 assessment centres across the municipality. If you need in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre. Don't go to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless 811 referred you.

For all health of the latest updates regarding COVID-19, please visit novascotia.ca/coronavirus.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will advise if there are any further operational changes impacting employees.

Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

Jacques


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