Agency Response to COVID-19: April 3, 2020


April 3, 2020

To Employees, Parents, Families, Caregivers and Directors of the Board

NEW: Use of masks: There has been lots of discussion on the use of masks to go about daily activities. The use of masks is NOT appropriate unless you are needing protection during the course of care and support. Wearing a mask can bring a false sense of security. Practicing physical distancing, frequent thorough hand washing and cleaning of surfaces are proven methods to avoid contamination.

Stay at home. If you go for a walk, avoid stopping for chats or meeting up with groups for play or running.

Please be aware that several of the Facebook posts, that are reposted, do not have credible sources. There are no cures or vaccines for COVID 19. Please follow the resources at the bottom of this memo.

Please listen to The Peak FM the week of April 6th for a special message for E3 employees.

We want to thank all employees at all levels- Direct Support Professionals in the home and community, the administrative team organizing logistics, managers who are available and children and family services available to parents and caregivers during this challenging period of history.

Please do a self screen at home before leaving for work. Should you have any symptoms, please contact the manager immediately prior to leaving your home.

The Ontario government is closing additional non-essential businesses as of April 4th at 11:59pm.
• Industrial construction, unless strictly necessary.
• Hardware stores, unless they can have alternate delivery

Currently, Ontario has over 3, 300 cases and continues to rise in Canada. Please continue physical distancing practices and avoid interactions with new people. The global situation continues to evolve.

Remember that our EAP program has several tools for your and your family to support you during this period of time.

We have a more robust screening process that is implemented in all the homes. You will be required to answer a series of questions, take a temperature and sign at every shift.

Please keep in mind that individuals we serve do not have outside contact now and would therefore not be the one to infect you with the covid-19 virus. Rather, you and your colleague could potentially infect one of the individuals.

We are connecting with each other several times daily with Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, and it would be a great way to continue after this situation has passed. It allows for up to date and timely connectivity.

Do not go to work if you feel sick! Please call your manager. You will be required to call your manager prior to your return to ensure you are fit. Do not expose your colleagues and people we support to germs.

Remember to clean your hands when out in the community or wear gloves for added protection such as shopping carts, gas pumps, door handles of businesses, etc. Avoiding new contacts in your personal life will dramatically reduce your risk of contagion. Practice physical distancing in all your activities and wash your hands often. Avoid play dates, dinner parties outside of the family living under one roof. Rather have a dinner party by connecting through Facetime or other methods for “face to face” and connection.

Remember to avoid touching your face. Frequently touching one’s face results in the spread of cold and flu germs.

Individuals we support
• PLEASE INFORM MANAGEMENT SHOULD SOMEONE NOT BE WELL IN THE HOME. This is the normal practice at any other time as individuals will get sick. We need to ensure that they stay healthy.

• PLEASE DO NOT GO TO WORK SICK. Call your manager.
• PPE: We are following best practices from the government of Ontario and guidelines for health community services and long term care facilities. Hand washing frequently, enhanced cleaning of surfaces and self-screening of self and residents is best. The use of PPE during regular care should not be used. Routine practices during personal hygiene is advised. We do have processes we will put in place should isolation be required in a home. Remember that it is contact and NOT airborne.
• Please see Sharevision for a listing of special store hours for seniors and people with disabilities.
• Find resources online specifically for direct support professionals working during COVID-19 at

Children Services
• The physical locations of the Child Care Centre Tot‘N’Tykes and EarlyON Centres are closed until further notice by our government.
• Virtual activities with EarlyON are on Facebook! You can also call the Centre.

Basic information
• Please wash hand with soap and water, 20 seconds, using a proven hand washing technique.
• Surfaces should be cleaned regularly according to protocol.
• Borders are closed. Do not travel.
• This guidance is also from our Health Unit as outlined below

    • All international should report to your local public health unit within 24 hours of arriving in Canada (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520);
    • stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in your home, for a total of 14 days from the date that you left Canada; and
    • monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing and contact Telehealth 1866-797-0000, your health care provider, or your local public health department by phone (in Simcoe Muskoka contact SMDHU at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520), if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If you need further advice, please call Telehealth 1-866-797-0000, your health care provider, or your local public health unit (in Simcoe Muskoka call SMDHU at 705-7217520 or 1-877-721-7520)
    • If you are ill and must visit a hospital or health care professional, call ahead and tell them that you have a respiratory illness.

Our sources

• Non-essential visits are suspended
• If you are or someone you live with are exhibiting any flu like systems such as cough, fever, or difficulty breathing; Please report to your physician’s office or the screening centre at Collingwood General & Marine Hospital
• Canadian borders are closed to travel.

Practice Good Hygiene
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available;
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands with soap;
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm, not your hand;
• If you or a member of your family are sick, stay home. And please, do not visit our programs or residences to limit the chance those in our care from becoming ill.

Your Steering Committee: Christine Vallis-Page Scott Kelly Peter Doner
Tracy Nancekivell Patricia Green Lori McKean
Heather Grasman Deborah Sauvé (JH&SC) Irene Currie(JH&SC)
Salvina Lutz (JH&SC) Kim Saunders Nancy MacDonald
Cindy Boyce

We will continue to update you daily through memo, email and social media. Please send your questions or comments to the Steering Committee. We are raising awareness and plan to stay ahead of potential spread. Visit our website for all the memos under about us > news. Keep in mind that directions will change rapidly and will require fluidity. These are unusual times and we are thankful for your continued support. We thank you for your dedicated work and support to some of our most vulnerable Ontarians.

Best regards,

Christine Vallis-Page