Agency Response to COVID-19: March 17, 2020


March 17, 2020

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

NEW: The Ontario government has now declared a state of emergency for the province. Social distancing and handwashing are key to flattening the pandemic curve. Restaurants dining rooms are closed but you can still access take out. There is now an hour that is reserved for shopping at Loblaw and Shopper’s Drug Mart for seniors and people with disabilities. A shopping plan is available with employment services. You will receive the list via email. ES will shop and drop your groceries at the house so we avoid numerous contacts with the community. All homes and offices should only be accessed with permission. We are limiting exposure for individuals we serve, employees and their families. We should continuous screen ourselves and the people we support.

Individuals we support
• PLEASE INFORM MANAGEMENT SHOULD SOMEONE NOT BE WELL IN THE HOME. As a preventive method for all, we will isolate.
• Should someone living in a home or supported living exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), employees will call to ask for guidance as per protocol from the North Simcoe Muskoka Public Health Unit. Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or the Public Health Unit 705-721-7520. The NSMPHU must be the one to order the test.
• The Resource Centre is no longer offering group activities until the crisis is over.
• No maintenance contractors unless absolutely necessary. Please contact Peter Doner.

• If you know that one of your colleagues has been away out of the country, please connect with your manager. People must self identify to protect colleagues, their families and people we support.
• PLEASE DO NOT GO TO WORK SICK. Call your manager.
• If you note a colleague not respecting the guidelines that have been put in place for your safety, please report immediately to 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 is not advised not should be used.

Use of food
• Please let your manager know if you cannot access food during groceries. We are sourcing other providers.
• We do have some stock of a few items should there be a need.
• Employment services will assist with grocery shopping to avoid homes from exposure. You will receive an email. No contact and maintain social distance.

Children Services
• The Child Care Centre Tots ‘N’ Tykes is closed until further notice by our government.
• EarlyON centres remain closed.
• Deep cleaning of all programs before reopening.

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.
• Traveling has been discouraged by our Canadian government. Employees returning from outside the country will need to self-isolate for a period of 14 days and they will be required to contact their manager or leadership team prior to returning to work to ensure all guidelines are followed. This will prevent spread of the virus to our most vulnerable.
• This guidance is also from our Health Unit as outlines below.

  • The Government of Canada has announced that all Canadian travellers should return to Canada now.
  • All travellers who are returning from Hubei province in China, Iran and Italy 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 the affected area; 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.
  • All other travellers who have been outside of Canada, upon return should follow the following advice:
    • Travellers who have returned from a COVID-affected area* need to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of illness for 14 days. If within 14 days of returning, they have fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and/or onset of (or exacerbation of chronic) cough, they are asked to self-isolate at home until 24 hours after symptoms have resolved. The impacted area* is based on current epidemiology and World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Report which currently includes over 100 countries. At this time, such ill travelers as a group are not on the list of persons to be tested.
    • 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 705-721-7520 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.
    • *Affected areas include: China (mainland); Hong Kong; Iran; Italy; Japan; Singapore; South Korea.

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
• We are asking that you do not come to any site for a full 14 days following your return to Canada and with confirmation that you are not exhibiting symptoms of or test positive for COVID-19. If you live with someone who has travelled, you must report this issue to your manager.

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