Health Care Support Services COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why aren’t we all being given masks by the employer? What is the protocol?

The current protocol is that employees that have patient contact should be wearing procedure or surgical masks. Masks are recommended when in patient care areas or traveling where there could be contact or social distancing is not possible. Members need to requests masks if you feel that you are unsafe. If you are being refused masks, you should contact your union representative.

  • Can we wear our own masks?

No, the Department of Health & Wellness says that homemade masks are not allowed in a healthcare setting.

  • When people are sent for testing, they are put in a room with other potentially infected people. What type of self-isolation are they subject to after this?

The general public has been encouraged to wear a mask for general safety. When you arrive at the clinic, people are also required to wear a mask and to socially distance. After testing, it is our understanding that a person is required to self-isolate until they get their test results.

  • I don’t feel safe at work right now. What can the employer and union do to help us feel safer?

The NSGEU is in regular contact with the employer over safety concerns in the workplace. If you feel unsafe you should discuss your concerns with your manager and steward or Employee Relations Officer (ERO) to have your workplace issues addressed, and to discuss your right to refuse.

  • I or a loved one has a compromised immune system or a pre-existing medical condition: do I have the right to accommodation or to refuse to work in COVID areas?

The employer’s position is that if you have the appropriate PPE and it is used correctly then there is no more risk to you or your loved than is someone without a pre-existing condition. However, you should have a discussion with your manager ensuring that all safety precautions to keep you safe have been implemented and to determine if an accommodation is required. The NSGEU has been working with the employer to ensure all safety precautions are in place and if accommodations are implemented if needed.

  • Is there any extra monetary incentive to work in the COVID areas?

There have been discussions surrounding this, but currently there is no monetary incentive for working in a COVID area.

  • If I am experiencing symptoms, and am concerned I could be infected or may bring it home to my loved ones, can I get tested?

You should contact Public Health at 811 and follow their direction on testing. After calling 811, you should follow up with Occupational Health through NSHA if 811 has referring you to a COVID assessment unit for swabbing.

  • If I test positive, how is my time off work paid? From my bank?

If you test positive and you feel you contracted COVID 19 from your workplace, you should request your employer file a WCB claim. If you have contacted COVID-19 from outside your workplace, you should access your sick leave.

  • There have been a lot of schedule changes lately: can they employer do this?

The employer is changing schedules as part of their response to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, they need to follow the scheduling language of your collective agreement. If you believe they are not following the language of your collective agreement, please contact your ERO.

  • Some Managers and Maintenance staff who work Monday-Friday 9 to 5 are crossing over the A and B shift. Why aren’t they following the same protocol as us? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

We understand that the application of an A and B shift is to limit the amount of contact workers have with other workers. We are discussing its application with the employer.

  • As a staff member at NSHA, should we be calling 811 to go through Public Health for testing, or contacting OH&S at work?

A member can contact both OH&S and Public Health.

  • Staff at nursing homes are having their temperatures taken when they come in and when they leave. Some of our staff are working in those facilities: shouldn’t they be having their temperature taken, too?

The temperature testing at a facility is a protocol for long term care. If you have contact or work within the long term care section of the facility you should follow the temperature protocol. If you work in the healthcare section of the facility this is not a requirement at this time. However, if you have a concern regarding your temperature you should have it checked and contact occupational health.

Related Articles

Start typing and press Enter to search