Agency Response to COVID-19: May 1, 2020


May 1st, 2020

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

NEW: Thank you for being patient as we continue adjusting in this time of transition. Certain practices may become tighter as the situation unfolds.

On April 24th, the government of Ontario announced a wage enhancement for essential employees. Direct Support Professionals were included in these groups. The details are not complete yet- this is a government initiative and we need to wait for directives. We do know it is retroactive to April 24th, will last 16 weeks in duration and will be an enhancement of $4 per worked hour. This will only apply to certain classes of employees and this will be dictated by our regional office. There will also be a monthly stipend of $250 per month when working over 100 hours per month.

Facial mask wearing is MANDATORY at all times. It must cover nose and mouth. It is meant to protect our most vulnerable and our colleagues and their families. It is part of the order issued for all congregate settings.
• In and out of the home, before entering
• In the vehicle at all times
• Please finish drinks before entering the home so that masks can be worn and hands can be sanitized prior to entering
• Should you need a pause, please go outside where physical distancing is possible and you can be without others
• When eating, do so distanced and clean surfaces, hands before putting your mask back on

On April 30th, the government of Ontario unveiled plans to phase in re-opening of businesses. It is a very cautious approach and requires public health measures to be respected. Guidelines include signage, floor markings for distancing, plexiglass barriers, limited number of customers, staggered employees breaks and no large groupings. Industry specific tools are available. For our sector, all phases remain extremely critical and will not be loosened in the foreseeable future.

If we have testing of staff, colleagues and families will be advised of positive cases. It is imperative that all public health measures be followed to prevent contagion to others.

Additional PPE was received from MCCSS. We have a good supply of PPE to support us as needed but we still need to be cautious with the use.

Groceries are done in bulk as much as possible to prevent exposure and also provide homes with the best quality we can source. Please ensure order are sent by Sunday. Pick up on Tuesday. You must remain in the car until the person ahead has vacated the loading area. Please do not socialize. Two shopping day for other essentials will be done. In these new times, we will need to plan ahead more.

Collingwood Web Design has been creating Collingwood colouring pages. Find the beautiful E3 page!

EarlyON virtual calendar is up for May!
Follow on FB (@EarlyONCollingwoodAlliston) and visit the E3 website for more information.

Should you have ideas to share with others, please connect with Heather Grasman and we will include in the virtual calendar.

Group homes have been designated PRIORITY for testing. Anyone tested should be fast tracked. DSP should also be fast tracked if being tested. Please mention when you are being tested, that you work in a congregate setting.

Please practice physical distancing and no new contacts when you are dealing with your personal life. Avoid new meetings, dates or play dates. It is very challenging but will help protect countless vulnerable individuals.

Remember to also practice physical distancing in the home with all STAFF and INDIVIDUALS. Reorganize furniture to distance between people, reschedule meals so that physical distancing is maintained- remember this is the one time of the day where droplets can contaminate areas.

Town halls will continue to occur every Thursday. We will alternate between 3:15 PM and 7:15 AM.

Please review the PPE videos and ensure you record the viewing and understanding.

The After hours clinic has a new phone number 705-444-5885 where you can speak to a receptionist during office hours re. health concerns. They direct you to go onto website and click on ” Get on Waitlist”. A nurse then calls to get details of concerns and a Dr calls you back later.

Please record every individual’s temperatures morning and evening. This should be done in daily notes in Sharevision. If the person’s temperature is above the norm, please contact your manager. Normal temperature is 36.5 to 37.2 Celcius.

Continue to clean all boxes, products, packaging that enters in to the home following the specific outlined process. We know it is a time consuming process but the virus has been known to stay on some surfaces for 3 days.

Should you decide to go for a drive or a walk, in order to manage behavior, please carry your letter and ID card in case you are questioned. Outline your role and the reason that you are out walking or driving (to ensure behavior safety for individual and fellow group home residents). One to one only.

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.

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
• Virtual activities with EarlyON are on Facebook and through virtual classroom! 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

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 Robin Galati Melanie Cathcart
Shannon Mathieson

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