COVID-19 Member Update #3 – March 15
Today, we learned that there are now three presumptive cases of COVID-19 in our province. In response to this information, and after discussion with government officials, we have made the following decisions:
· We are renewing our commitment to the Good Neighbour Protocol, which we signed on to in 2009. This agreement allows government to require health care workers in other facilities or areas during a public health emergency, both protecting workers’ rights and ensures for seamless support across the province in times of crisis. It ensures workers will be properly compensated and protected, and it will apply to both workers and volunteers;
· All scheduled NSGEU meetings and educational sessions are being suspended until April 1st to ensure the health and safety of our members and staff. This includes Local meetings and meetings in any of our offices.
Our members who work at Healthlink 811 are under an enormous amount of pressure right now, as they are the primary point of contact for those who may need to be screened for COVID-19. They have been doing an amazing job, but they need our help. Government is planning to reassign Administrative Professionals working in the Civil Service to expand capacity and keep up with the call volumes. They will be asking for volunteers to temporarily work at 811: these workers will not lose any pay and will be protected under the provisions of their current collective agreement. We are encouraging any and all members who are asked to work at 811 to please do so if they are asked: this is a public health emergency, and we all need to step up and do our part to help.
To this end, the NSGEU has also offered up a large meeting space to government for the temporary expansion of 811 services.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will make sure we provide you with updated information as it becomes available to us.
An update from government is expected at 3 p.m. today. It can be livestreamed here: https://novascotia.ca/stayinformed/webcast
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