Precautionary Policy Update

SUBJECT: Northwoods Caregivers Employee Update Regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19

As you are likely aware, the coronavirus/COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has now resulted in documented cases in the Greater Minnesota Area. Northwoods Caregivers is actively monitoring the situation and relevant guidance from appropriate governmental authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota State Department of Health. We also receive community updates from our local Beltrami County Public Health Staff. Our number one priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees, caregivers, and carereceivers.

This is an evolving situation and we all need to work together and communicate well to manage it effectively.

FAQ – PREVENTATIVE MEASURES FOR EXPOSURE  

Please see the resources below to obtain reliable, up-to-date information about COVID-19: 

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html]

EMPLOYEE ACTION PLAN

Northwoods Caregivers has implemented the following measures and recommendations:

Business Travel and Conferences

All nonessential business travel is currently suspended. All domestic air travel for business must be approved by the Executive Director. In addition, to reduce exposure of “community spread,” we are recommending that employees do not attend large conferences or business events (more than 10 attendees), even if doing so does not require air travel. Attendance at any such events will need to be approved by the Executive Director.

Personal Travel

We look to the CDC for recommendations regarding travel. The CDC issues travel notices for areas impacted by health problems as follows: 

Level 1: Practice usual precautions

Level 2: Practice enhanced precautions 

Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel

Currently, China, Italy, Iran and South Korea are CDC Level 3 and Japan is CDC Level 2.  You can find the most current list at the following link: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/.  CDC also recommends that all travelers, particularly those with underlying health conditions, defer cruise ship travel worldwide.   

We recommend that you make personal travel plans with caution and follow the CDC recommendations for personal travel. Please be advised that employees returning from travel which took them to or through a CDC-designated Level 3 (Italy, South Korea, Iran and China) or Level 2 (Japan) country are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return and will be expected to work from home and utilize digital communication tools to ensure they are fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to the best of their ability.

Please email your direct Manager or the Executive Director with the details around any upcoming or recent personal international travel.

For additional travel advisory guidance please visit the State Department travel advisory link:  https://travel.state.gov/. 

Relational Exposures 

If anyone in your immediate family (including roommates or visitors to your home) travels to any international location designated as CDC Level 2 or Level 3 and you are exposed to such individuals, we may ask that you work from home for 14 days following your exposure to such individuals. If you have experienced relational exposure, please do not come into the office and instead contact Executive Director remotely to determine the appropriate course of action.  

In-office Exposure

Those hosting outside individuals for a meeting in the office should survey the meeting participants and determine if they have recently traveled to a CDC Level 2 or 3 countries prior to the scheduled on-site meeting. If yes, then attendance should be converted to video/telephone conference.

If any such scenarios require clarification, please contact the Executive Director to determine the appropriate course of action.  

In-office Prevention

The following steps have been taken to help reduce possible risk factors.

  • Current Staffing through March 31st will have 2-3 staff at most in the office to allow for social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet. Staff not scheduled for office time in this period may work at home if tasks allow (seek guidance for the Executive Director is you have any questions) or use sick, personal or vacation up to your regular hours per pay period per current staffing grid.
  • The first staff member into the office in the morning will be responsible for either spraying with disinfectant or wiping down with Clorox Wipes all common surfaces with special attention paid to door handles, tables, chairs, and countertops.
  • The last staff member to leave the office at night will be responsible for either spraying with disinfectant or wiping down with Clorox Wipes all common surfaces with special attention paid to door handles, tables, chairs, and countertops.

Direct Provision of Services

  • All Supervised Visits and Exchanges are suspended until further notified
  • Respite provision will be decided between the provider and family caregivers based on need and risk factors identified. We ask that the Respite coordinator be notified in changes of status. Respite phone reassurance may be provided in place of regular respite as agreed between provider, agency and primary caregiver.
  • Homemaking provision will be decided between the provider and client based on need, risk factors and possible ways to provide services without exposure such as grocery delivery to the front door or arranging for delivery. In cases where the building/facility is closed to the public the homemaker must follow the rules of the facility/building including prescreening if necessary.
  • All Caregiver Coaching at this time will be provided remotely by Skype, email, or telephone contact. This will be reevaluated based on MDH recommendations.
  • Home Health is considered an essential service and all providers will have access to gloves and masks. Please contact your direct Homecare RN Manager if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Timesheets, logs and other payroll documents may be submitted electronically by tablets, email or fax to lessen personal exposure. All methods will keep to the prearranged schedule of submission.

Feeling sick 

It is the policy of Northwoods Caregivers that when staff and volunteers show symptoms of a cold, flu, or suspicion of other related potential infectious virus or diseases will refrain from contact with the program facility or clients until the symptoms disappear and/or when necessary deemed non-contagious from a licensed physician. 

  • If you come to work displaying symptoms (coughing and sneezing), we will instruct you to return home. Should this occur, please follow these self-quarantine steps:
    • Stay home until you are free of fever (100.4F/37.8C), signs of fever, and any other symptoms, for at least 24 hours without the use of treatments such as fever-reducing medicines or cough suppressants.
    • Notify your manager and Executive Director by email or telephone contact.

Basic Hygiene as recommended by the CDC

  • Avoid contact with people who are affected by COVID-19 or who display any other signs of infection 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Per CDC guidance, if you are healthy, there is no need to wear a face mask to protect yourself from respiratory diseases including coronavirus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Follow this Guide. https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Upon local outbreak Northwoods Caregivers will cooperate with state and local government disaster planning agencies and work to prepare for and react to emergencies presented by a pandemic outbreak. 

In the event of an actual pandemic outbreak or related emergency the program may close for up to 8 weeks and as recommended by local, state, and federal officials.

Resources:

  • Sanford Family Preparedness Guide                                     
  • Eden Health                                                
  • ttps://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  • www.pandemicflu.gov
  • Adult Day Services of Bemidji