May 13, 2020
Dear DCS Members:
Further to the emails I sent Saturday May 9th, I wanted to follow up with this letter as an update.
As the Premier announced the Provincial Healthcare Premium on Thursday, and we all know that DCS was left out because they do not deem you as healthcare workers, our push back began on Friday.
A media release went out on Friday, and a letter to the Premier was sent on Monday. The letter that was sent to the Premier also went to all 21 Employers yesterday with a request that they work with us lobbying government for all of you to be included in the healthcare premium. I will also be interviewed regarding this matter on 95.7 FM radio talk show on Thursday May 14th at 9:30. There have been numerous emails and conference calls between staff and the Coordinating Committee Executive to organize a plan and get a campaign up and running. I will provide more in-depth information when I have it.
May 8, 2020
I am writing you to recognize the federal and provincial Essential Health Care Workers Program announced yesterday that will provide health care workers with a bonus of up to $2,000. Although CUPE appreciates the provincial government’s willingness to work together with the federal government to provide some recognition, we cannot allow this moment to pass without pointing out that this program ignores many critical members of our essential services front line. We understand that NSGEU has shared similar concerns with you.
The people who work on the front lines of Nova Scotia’s social services sector are holding our communities together through this crisis. They protect the well-being of the most vulnerable among us, and often expose themselves to significant risk in the course of their duties. The services they provide (adult residential care, rehabilitation services, and housing support work to name a few) cannot be postponed or rescheduled, and workers in DCS-funded facilities and programs have been reporting for duty with a smile, despite the risks.
HALIFAX – CUPE welcomes the news of the $2,000 premium being offered to health care workers in Nova Scotia, but is, however, extremely disappointed that the facilities funded by the Department of Community Services (DCS) are excluded from the premium. The offer leaves out essential frontline staff who work at residential facilities.
MASKING PROTOCOL FOR DSP WORKERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Department of Community Services is implementing a new protocol around masking of staff working in DSP licensed facilities/homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, any staff working in or moving through areas accessed by participants will be asked to wear a procedure mask throughout their entire shift. One (1) procedure mask per shift should be provided by the service provider. An additional mask should be available if required due to soiling.
This protocol applies to residential facilities funded by the Disability Support Program (DSP) and licensed by the Minister of Community Services under the Homes for Special Care Act: Adult Residential Centres (ARC), Regional Rehabilitation Centres (RRC), Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) Small Option Homes, Developmental Residences and Group Homes.
The goal of COVID-19 Management in the Disability Support Program is to, as much as possible, prevent the introduction of the virus into the home and/or prevent transmission to participants and staff within the home.
All residential service providers must follow the orders and directives made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection Act (HPA) (see link in Section 6). We are also recommending compliance with the guidelines contained in this document.
These guidelines are based on the latest available scientific evidence about this emerging disease and may change as new information becomes available. The Public Health Agency of Canada will be posting regular updates and related documents at https://www.phac- aspc.gc.ca/.
PHOTO : www.griswoldhomecare.com
Dozens of staff and residents at least seven long-term care facilities have tested positive for the disease.
APRIL 14, 2020 BY JENNIFER HENDERSON, The Halifax Examiner
Over the Easter weekend, 16 residents and 10 employees at the Northwood long-term-care complex in Halifax tested positive for COVID-19.
The nursing home’s website says all 26 — plus four more staff who provide homecare services — have exhibited mild to moderate symptoms. Medical staff have isolated and are caring for the infected residents on a separate floor of Northwood Manor. Dr Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province, expressed, “concern for the people,” but said “I am confident everything that can be done is being done.”
Northwood Inc., with 485 residents, has emerged as a hotspot for the virus. COVID-19 has also infected residents and staff in at least seven other long-term care facilities, including R.K.MacDonald in Antigonish, the Northside Community Guest Home in North Sydney, Shannex’s Arborstone facility in Halifax and its Lewis Hall and Harris Hall in Dartmouth, Ocean View Manor in Eastern Passage, and Magnolia Manor in Enfield.