Coronavirus Update for PGHPCS
Okay, so now that you’re stocked up with enough bathroom tissue to last you awhile, let’s discuss what else we should be doing together. The latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) report yesterday outlines that COVID-19 has spread to four new countries in the last 24 hours bringing the number of confirmed cases globally to 125,048 and the number of deaths to 4613. The number of new cases outside of China (6703) now far exceeds the number of new cases in China (26). Today the United States declared a national emergency over COVID-19. The WHO has also officially categorized this as a pandemic, but continues to stress that it is controllable with ongoing containment measures.
Changes and Impacts to Hospice
The following procedures are a part of our Pandemic Preparedness Implementation Plan with No Current Community Alert and will be effective immediately. We ask that everyone reads the entirety of the documents as it is pertinent to all of us here at Hospice.
Please to continue to practice enhanced cleaning, screening and infection control precautions, including:
- social distancing,
- avoiding touching your face,
- covering your nose and mouth with your elbow when coughing, and self-isolation when required.
- Because of Health Canada’s advisory against large gatherings Hospice Antique Fair is cancelled as it expects such groups.
- Cancellation of large group events in the community is occurring and includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events.
For Anyone Coming to Hospice for Any Reason:
- For those visiting Hospice facilities who have been traveling, the BC Ministry of Health has recommended against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada is asked to stay away from Hospice locations for 14 days upon their return. This is a voluntary measure, but it is our expectation that people will follow this direction.
- We are requesting that no person come to Hospice after being in contact with anyone having a confirmed case of COVID-19. You are requested to self-isolate for 14 days following such contact, and to remain in isolation until 48 hours following absence of fever.
- Screening visitors to hospice will include questions pertaining to travel outside of Canada.
- Hospice will continue to screen visitors, clean and practice good respiratory hygiene. On that subject, thank you to everyone involved in cleaning and wrapping our baked goods. If you would like to volunteer to help with the increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces at Hospice House, or to greet and screen visitors, please contact us.
- We are anticipating that should we have confirmed cases in our community, we would control access more strictly and ensure every person entering was screened and proceeded directly to their Guest, avoiding the use of common areas. While we are not at that point, we would like to be prepared for this increased screening activity, should that situation occur.
- Remember there are COVID-19 guides located on the WHS board and the policy area for staff.
- In the event of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our community, Guests will take their meals in their rooms, and the common areas would effectively be closed for use.
- Guests who have a primary caregiver who spends significant time with them, would be permitted to have the caregiver eat Hospice meals with them in their room.
- Hospice would stop providing meals for any extended family or visitors in order to reduce the opportunity for spreading COVID-19. These measures are not currently implemented, and they would only begin if there were confirmed cases in our community.
We Value Your Preparation:
- In anticipation of self-isolation measures being required by you or someone in your family, consider what items are needed, and prepare for remaining at home for this time. Items needed might include:
- food, including dried pasta and sauce, prepared canned soups, canned vegetables and beans.
- household medicine,
- pet supplies,
- feminine products,
- toilet paper and
- You should anticipate disruptions that could occur if COVID-19 continues to spread. Some considerations for this include:
- Consider in your work role and personal life, how you would manage disruptions to schedules, supplies, food or other items needed for day-to-day living.
- Network with your family, friends and neighbours, and plan how you will support each other in the event of illness and isolation. Sharing your preparedness plan may motivate others to prepare.
- Do grocery shopping at off-peak hours.
- If commuting by public transit, do so outside of the busy rush hours.
- Opt to exercise outdoors instead of in an indoor fitness class.
- Have essentials on hand, but avoid panic-buying.
- In the event any Hospice Staff or Volunteer has personal illness in their family, you could consider the following.
- Pre-plan care options for young children or older adults who would require adult supervision at home if ill.
- Consider options for preventing infection of self or others in the event that someone in your home becomes ill. This may include the use of supplements or medication as directed by a physician.
- Maintain personal health and hygiene at a high level to reduce the likelihood of infection. This may include recommendations from the BCCDC such as:
- The person and all members of the household setting should follow good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene practices.
- Hand washing with plain soap and water is the preferred method of hand hygiene in the community, since the mechanical action is effective at removing visible soil and microbes.
- If soap and water are not available, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHS) with at least 60% alcohol is recommended; for visibly soiled hands, remove soiling with a wipe first, followed by use of ABHS. However, the person should always wash their hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
- Discard tissues and disposable materials used to cover the nose or mouth, preferably in a plastic-lined container before disposal with other household waste. If the mask gets wet or dirty with secretions, it should be changed immediately.
- Due to risk of fecal shedding, always flush toilet with the lid down.
- Place the ill person in a room by themselves, including sleeping at night, if possible.
- If the person cannot be separated from others, they should follow respiratory etiquette, while others are in the same room, including wearing a mask or if that is not readily available, covering nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Shared spaces (e.g. kitchens, bathrooms) should be kept well ventilated, if possible.
- Due to the theoretical possibility that animals in the home could be affected by COVID-19, it is recommended that those who are ill also refrain from contact with pets.
- People in the household should avoid sharing toothbrushes, cigarettes, eating utensils, drinks, towels, washcloths or bed linen.
- Other types of possible exposure to contaminated items should be avoided. Dishes and eating utensils should be cleaned with soap and water after use.
- High-touch areas such as toilets, bedside tables and door handles should be cleaned twice daily using viral cleaning solution or diluted bleach (one-part bleach to nine parts water); surfaces that become soiled with respiratory secretions or body fluids should be cleaned with diluted bleach. Use disposable gloves and protective clothing (e.g. plastic aprons, if available) when cleaning or handling surfaces, clothing, or linen soiled with bodily fluids.
- Use precautions when doing laundry. Contaminated laundry should be placed into a laundry bag or basket with a plastic liner and should not be shaken. Gloves and a surgical/procedure mask should be worn when in direct contact with laundry known to be contaminated with COVID-19. Clothing and linens belonging to the ill person can be washed together with other laundry, using regular laundry soap and hot water (60-90°C). Laundry should be thoroughly dried. Hand hygiene should be performed after handling contaminated laundry and after removing gloves. If the laundry container comes in contact with contaminated laundry, it can be disinfected using a diluted bleach solution.
How you Can Help Hospice During This Time:
- Consider Volunteering to help with:
- Increased cleaning needs. Wiping frequently touched surfaces
- Wrapping our cookies and baked good for communal eating
- Greeting and screening visitors
Additional Information on Covid-19
You might also consider how to answer questions from children or older adults. The BCCDC has provided a guide to some FAQs at the following link:
Use the following links to learn more.