COVID-19 Monitoring and Information

April 9, 2020

NSNU MEMBERS - NSNU Telephone Townhall COVID-19 Discussion

On Thursday, April 9th the NSNU held a telephone townhall to hear members’ concerns and comments, answer questions, and discuss the latest information on COVID-19. Members can listen to a recording of that call below.

Much has happened in a short period of time that impacts many aspects of your home and work life. It’s important to stay in touch and informed. If you have any questions, please send them to nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca and they will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

April 9, 2020

An Important Message About Patient Privacy From NSHA

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An Important Message About Patient Privacy From NSHA

In recent media reports regarding the first COVID-19 related death in Nova Scotia, the level of detail shared by anonymous staff members and physicians is concerning and frankly disappointing. We understand that these are uncertain times and sharing our experiences may feel like the right thing to do, however it is imperative that we maintain the boundaries of patient confidentiality. Staff and physicians must protect the trust that our patients have placed in us, and follow the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) and NSHA privacy policies.

Public attention and the media interest around COVID will continue. You may be approached by media. If approached by media in person or online through social media, refer them to the NSHA media line 1-844-483-3344. Please remember that any information gained from your employment with NSHA is only to be used in the course of performing your duties. You may not share any information with your family, friends or members of the community.  Even sharing within NSHA outside of the course of your daily duties would be considered a privacy breach.

Incidents of information being shared inappropriately will be investigated by the Privacy Officer in your zone. Breach of patient confidentiality is a serious matter and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment if it is determined that the breach was committed with intent to gossip or other malicious purpose. If you have questions about what may or may not be shared during the COVID-19 Pandemic please reach out to the Privacy Office at privacy [at] nshealth.ca.

If you need to discuss situations at work, if you are struggling or need help, talk to your manager or your co-worker, or take advantage of our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) services accessible 24/7/365 by calling 1-800-387-4765 or visiting www.workhealthlife.com.

 

April 8, 2020

The following position statement was provided by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions regarding pregnant health care workers and COVID-19.

Pregnant Health Care Workers Should Not Be Forced to Work in COVID-19 ‘Hot Zones’ (PDF)

April 8, 2020

“Canada must act urgently to protect all health care workers, before it’s too late,” Silas tells federal health committee

April 07, 2020 (OTTAWA, ON) –As president of the union representing 200,000 nurses, and on behalf of close to one million health care workers across the country, Linda Silas is demanding that the federal government act urgently to provide optimal personal protective equipment – including N95 respirators or a higher level of protection – for all health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The call comes today as the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and other stakeholders appear before a special session of the parliamentary health committee. 

Read the full release

April 7, 2020

NSNU and CFNU Make $5000 Donation to Feed Nova Scotia

Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union was happy to host a virtual cheque presentation with Nick Jennery, Executive Director of Feed Nova Scotia today, April 7th. The NSNU and CFNU collectively donated $5000.00 to Feed Nova Scotia to help those who are struggling with food insecurity at this difficult time. We hope others will consider donating to this and the many other organizations and charities that are facing challenges due to COVID-19.

View the virtual cheque presentation here on our YouTube channel.

Feed Nova Scotia - Read More

NICK JENNERY :
“Wow … what an incredibly thoughtful and generous donation! Your gift is so humbling given that you and your members are tackling your own difficult challenges on the front line. We are all so very grateful for what you are doing for so many. Your donation is also motivating for our team as we ramp up our support for communities in need, and help those who are most vulnerable. Thank you so much Janet and a big virtual hug to you and all your members for their kindness and generosity. Together we will get this done.”

April 3, 2020

Five unions representing health care workers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are calling on government and employers to sign onto a safety protocol that would ensure these frontline workers feel protected and supported during this unprecedented time.

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MEDIA RELEASE: NS Health Care Workers Need Assurances on Safety Equipment

Five unions representing health care workers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are calling on government and employers to sign onto a safety protocol that would ensure these frontline workers feel protected and supported during this unprecedented time.

The NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE, Unifor and IUOE jointly agreed to this protocol, which is similar to protocols that have recently been adopted by the provincial government and employers in Alberta and Ontario. On Monday, the protocol was sent to Premier Stephen McNeil, Health & Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Chief Medical Officer Robert Strang, as well as Dr. Brendan Carr at the NSHA and Dr. Krista Jangaard at the IWK.

So far, government and employer representatives have not agreed to sign the document.

Our frontline health care workers deserve the same level of respect, peace of mind and protection that is being provided to health care workers in other parts of this country.

We understand that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in short supply worldwide, but this protocol strikes a balance between protecting both our supply and our frontline workers; by protecting them it would ensure they remain healthy and able to treat the sick.

We are doing our best to work cooperatively with government at this time of crisis, reaffirming our commitment to the Good Neighbour Protocol in 2009 and working with our members to help provide care during this difficult time. We need government to meet us half way.

March 24, 2020

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions has updated their position statement on COVID-19. The updated statement is available at the link below.

Safety Is Not Negotiable Pandemic Preparedness – the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) (PDF)

March 24, 2020

The following document was provided by Pink Larkin to answer common questions from unions:

Information Bulletin - COVID-19: Unions’ Questions Answered (PDF)

March 18, 2020

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions sent the following letter to the Prime Minister regarding support for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Emergency Measures to Support Health Care Workers in the Fight Against COVID-19 (PDF)


The following is a joint letter by Linda Silas, CFNU President, and Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now sent to the premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.  

Emergency Child Care Measures for Frontline COVID-19 Workers (PDF)

March 17, 2020

The following document was provided by the Government of Nova Scotia regarding COVID-19 protocols in the Continuing Care Sector.

Information to Continuing Care Sector (PDF)

March 17, 2020

Call For Retired Nurses

Retired nurses who are willing and able to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to reach out to the Nova Scotia College of Nursing.

Nova Scotia is looking to hire retired workers in various settings amid a likely staffing shortage resulting from the pandemic.

If you are interested, please visit the NSCN website for more information.

Thank you for your service. 

March 13, 2020

New Travel Measures for NS Public Sector Employees

Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return effective today. Government introduced the travel protocols this morning, March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province. 

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New Travel Measures for NS Public Sector Employees

Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return effective today. Government introduced the travel protocols this morning, March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province. 

To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. 

Health-care workers, teachers, civil servants and other public sector employees who travel anywhere outside Canada will have to stay at home/self-isolate away from the public for 14 days after returning to the country. These measures also apply to students of Nova Scotia public schools and children in regulated child care centres who have travelled with their families, even if their parents or caregivers are not public sector employees. This policy will apply to NSNU staff as well.

Those requiring self-isolation post international travel must notify their employer in order to be placed on paid administrative leave. Anyone who contracts the virus will be required to use sick leave. 

Under the Health Protections Act, workers can be put off work if they do not voluntarily self-isolate. 

The chief medical officer of health is also encouraging individuals, employers and community organizations to limit social gatherings to no more than 150 people to limit spread. This measure will help protect vulnerable Nova Scotians who are at greatest risk and will be reassessed as the situation evolves. 

Nurses who choose to travel internationally during the travel advisory and self-isolation should review their travel insurance policy as they may not now qualify for benefits and coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NSNU members seeking more information are encouraged to reach out at 902-469-1474/1-800-469-1474 or nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca

Additional Contact Information:

March 13, 2020

The following is a joint statement issued March 13 by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Safety Is Not Negotiable for Anyone – Including Healthcare Workers (PDF)

March 12, 2020

On Thursday the NSNU held a telephone townhall to hear members’ concerns, answer questions, and discuss the latest information on COVID-19 and healthcare sector preparedness. Members can listen to a recording of that call here on the COVID-19 videos page.

If you have any questions, please send them to nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca and they will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

March 11, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, in light of the outbreak spreading to 114 countries, with more than 118,000 confirmed infections and 4,291 deaths.

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World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, in light of the outbreak spreading to 114 countries, with more than 118,000 confirmed infections and 4,291 deaths. The announcement was made by WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a media briefing on March 11th. 

In his statement, Dr. Ghebreyesus said if all countries took the proper precautions, the spread of the pandemic could be better managed.

“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.”

He called on all countries to scale up emergency response systems to stem the rate of infection to protect citizens and health care workers.

Read the full statement here on the WHO website.

March 9, 2020

New national screening protocols have been established as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to expand globally. Please visit the Nova Scotia Government website at this link for full details.

March 2, 2020

It is inappropriate and unnecessary to test for SARS-Co-V2 in asymptomatic people who have returned from an area affected by SARS-Co-V2 and such tests will not be performed by the Nova Scotia health system. 

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No Novel Coronavirus Testing or Medical Note Required for Return to Work

It is inappropriate and unnecessary to test for SARS-Co-V2 in asymptomatic people who have returned from an area affected by SARS-Co-V2 and such tests will not be performed by the Nova Scotia health system. 

The practice of requiring medical letters to return to work are not necessary or appropriate except in special circumstances.

Based on current information, there is a low risk of SARS-Co-V2 being spread by an infected individual while asymptomatic. Travellers returning from affected areas are screened by Canada Border Services agents upon their return to Canada. Those with symptoms are sent directly for medical assessment. 

Depending on the exact location(s) where they travelled, those who do not have symptoms are given clear instructions to either self-isolate for 14 days since they left the affected area or to closely monitor their health.

January 28, 2020

View the Good Neighbour Protocol 

In 2009, in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the NSNU and other health care unions signed the Good Neighbour Protocol – an agreement to preserve health services and protect health care workers during emergencies such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

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Good Neighbour Protocol

Nurses and nursing organizations like the NSNU are paying close attention to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China. While there's a low risk of widespread infection in Canada, there are some confirmed cases of the virus in Ontario and British Columbia.

The Nurses’ Union will continue to monitor the situation, working with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Department of Health and Wellness in order to apprise you of any new developments.

In 2009, in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the NSNU and other health care unions signed the Good Neighbour Protocol – an agreement to preserve health services and protect health care workers during emergencies such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

The agreement protects workers' rights in times of crisis and ensures for seamless support across the province should they be required to temporarily work at a different site or location. It ensures workers and volunteers will be properly compensated and protected.

We encourage you to discuss workplace safety with your employers/managers to make certain that personal protective equipment, protocols and preventative measures are in place. We must take the necessary precautions to safeguard against infection.

If you have concerns that the Nurses’ Union may be able to address, please contact us at nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca

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COVID-19 Video Updates

View video updates from NSNU president, Janet Hazelton.

Escape

It is now more important than ever to decompress and feel the support of those around you. This page is dedicated to giving nurses a break from the rigors of the job during this time of heightened stress, workload and anxiety.

Click for larger image

Mask graphic updated

 


CFNU Canadian Labour Congress