In Canada, it is required that any place of business that is allowed to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic must prevent the risk of transmission and infection to co-workers and the public, provide for a rapid response if a worker or member of the public develops symptoms of illness while at the place of work, and maintain high levels of workplace and worker hygiene.
Managing an outbreak starts with preventive measures, followed by preparing and implementing a plan, and then controlling and resolving an outbreak. The different points along this continuum require specific actions and interventions.
Fitness and recreational facilities are required to implement a Rapid Response Plan to ensure readiness to manage symptomatic individuals, confirmed COVID-19 cases, and to respond to an outbreak (should one occur).
Principles of outbreak management:
Prevention and Preparedness
- Implementing mandatory physical distancing requirements
- Encouraging consistent hand hygiene
- Implementing use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (i.e.: masks, plasti-shields, traffic control)
- Encouraging personal hygiene
- Taking cleaning and disinfecting measures
- Informing respiratory etiquette (i.e.: covering coughs and sneezes)
- Providing education, awareness, and continual supervision of our facilities and intervening if needed
Controlling and Resolving an Outbreak
What steps should we take when an employee or member/guest tests positive for or is diagnosed with COVID-19?
Please follow steps 1, 2 and 3 while you wait to confirm COVID-19 status:
We recommend that you follow this three-step plan when addressing a confirmed COVID-19 case in your workplace:
1. Isolate/Quarantine Confirmed Employees
Immediately remove and ensure the employee does not come to work until their test results have come back and the local health authority confirms that they are no longer required to self isolate. The infected person should remain at home until released by a physician or public health official. If a medical note releasing the employee is unavailable, follow the local health authority guidelines. If there is an online self assessment tool, complete that and follow instructions.
a) Send home all employees who worked in close contact (within 2 meters, for 15 mins+ without wearing PPE/acceptable protective wear such as cloth masks) with the infected employee for 14 days after last exposure under your local health authority guidelines to ensure the infection does not spread. Encourage the employee to go get tested. If they receive a negative result and are not experiencing symptoms, the local health authority may clear them to return to work earlier than 14 days.
b) Speak to the employee to get their permission (should they test positive) that we can share their name when speaking to employees (please get approval via a written form, such as email).
c) In consultation with the employee, gather a list of employees, members or guests who:
- If an employee came in general contact with 48 hours prior to displaying symptoms. It’s been suggested up to 14 days in some cities, perhaps we make it 2-14 days based on your local health authority’s guidelines.
- If an employee came in close contact with (within 2 meters, for 15 mins+ without wearing PPE during those dates).
- If an employee’s test comes back positive, inform the staff and members who they came in contact with to suggest they get tested if they wish.
2. Clean and Disinfect Your Workplace
After a confirmed COVID-19 case, follow the local health authority guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the workplace. Cleaning staff or a third-party sanitation contractor should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the COVID positive person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
If using cleaners other than household cleaners with more frequency than an employee would use at home, ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace and maintain Occupational Health and Safety standards.
Further guidance may be provided directly from your local health authority at the time of the incident to confirm any other requirements, such as a possible mandatory closure of the facility.
3. Notify Employees and Members*
Following a confirmed COVID-19 case, it is recommended that the employer notify all employees who work in the location or area where the employee works that someone, they have come in contact with has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- The employer must not reveal any confidential medical information such as the name of the employee to their member base. If they reveal information, written consent is required.
- Inform employees of the actions you have taken, including requiring employees who worked closely to the infected worker to go home.
- Let employees and members know about your sanitizing and cleaning efforts and remind them to seek medical attention if they exhibit symptoms.
*Management to ensure Marketing and Communications are consulted on any communications before sending to employees or members.
Any Safety and Health related incident reports should be saved and stored securely.
If a member or staff show symptoms of COVID-19 while at your facility, ensure you have measures, such as the following:
Notify your local health authority.
Ensure that anyone who spent time near them (during the specific time-period) is notified.
Recommend that those who came in contact with them begin to isolate for 14 days and recommend that they get tested in order to be cleared.
Offer suggestions for safe method of transportation to their home if they used public transportation to attend your facility that will not expose any unknowing participants.
If there is refusal to leave the facility, for the safety of the staff and members, you may deny further entry; rely on the health authority to handle the situation.
Employee/Member notifies management if symptomatic or COVID + result. STEP 2:
Begin following the rapid response plan plan including isolating the COVID+ person. STEP 3:
The facility notifies their local health authority immediately. Rapid Response Plan is reviewed and followed. STEP 4:
Facility Director to commence cleaning protocols and informs staff for notifications out to employees and members. STEP 5:
If a Covid+ result is determined, an incident report must be completed and safely kept for reference purposes.
For more information on COVID19 please visit: Public Health Agency of Canada