Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 has escalated from public health crisis to pandemic. In simple terms, this means the public health priority has shifted from preventing the spread of the virus to slowing it down so that our healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed by too many infections happening concurrently.
We know our members are on the front lines interacting with the public every day in the various sectors that they work in. While the risk of catching COVID-19 remains low in Canada, the severity of the virus must not be underestimated. We urge our members, in particular those working in the health care sector where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, to take precautions and follow the guidance of public health officials to delay, contain and minimize the impact of COVID-19.
We have been monitoring the development of the virus and are connecting with employers to ensure they are taking appropriate measures to protect our members in their workplaces. If you have any specific questions or concerns on this matter please contact your Union Representative.
In the meantime, our members must ensure they are staying safe and protected during these times. Below are some guidelines to prevent virus transmission and resources to learn more about COVID-19:
Best Practices to Prevent Virus Transmission
- Wash your hands frequently and well: Use soap and warm water and scrub all over your hands and in between your fingers for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
- Avoid touching your face: The moist lining of your mouth and nose, and your eyes are prime spots for the virus to enter your system. Avoid touching them with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough: Ideally, you should use a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces: It’s possible for the virus to last days on some surfaces. It’s recommended to reasonably disinfect the surfaces that you can.
- Monitor your health: The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses. They include cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing. If you suspect you may have the virus or come into contact with someone who has it, you should self-isolate and notify the health-care facility you are planning to visit ahead of time so they can be prepared to take precautions.
You can find reliable and up-to-date information about COVID-19 at:
- B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel Coronavirus
- B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel Coronavirus FAQ (Punjabi)
- BC Government – Pandemic Preparedness
- Yukon Government – Information about Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Pandemic response is a collective responsibility and we all have a part to play in it. If you have any questions on this matter please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected].