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Provincial Government Introduces Mandatory COVID-19 Screening Requirement For Ontario Workplaces – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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Canada:

Provincial Government Introduces Mandatory COVID-19 Screening Requirement For Ontario Workplaces

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On September 26, 2020, amendments to Ontario Regulation 364-20, the “Rules for
Areas in Stage 3,” came into effect, making it mandatory for
all businesses and organizations in Ontario to screen workers and
essential visitors for COVID-19 before entry to the premises.

In June 2020, the Ministry of Labour published a guide that
provided businesses with practical advice on how to conduct
screening for the virus and how to deal with potential exposure at
the workplace. Additional information on this guidance can be found
in our prior bulletin. However, with another spike of
COVID-19 cases in the province, the government has escalated its
efforts and mandated that all workplaces in Ontario proactively
screen workers and essential visitors before or upon entering the
work environment. The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
(“CMOH“) includes delivery, maintenance
and contract workers in its definition of “essential
visitors”. The requirement does not apply to patrons.

The new provision references a set of guidelines and recommendations released
by the CMOH. The Screening Tool sets out three questions that
workers or essential visitors must answer before entering the
premises: 1) whether the individual is experiencing any of the
listed symptoms including, but not limited to: fever, cough, sore
throat, nausea or extreme fatigue; 2) whether the individual has
travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days; and 3) whether
that individual has been in close contact with a confirmed or
probable case of COVID-19. The screening does not include
temperature checks.

If the worker or essential visitor answers yes to any of the
listed questions, including experiencing any one of the numerous
symptoms on the provided list, they should not enter the workplace.
Instead, the employer must immediately direct the individual to
self-isolate at home and urge them to contact their care provider
or Telehealth Ontario to assess their need for a COVID-19 test.

Notwithstanding the above, the practical implications for
Ontario workplaces remain somewhat ambiguous, as the guidelines do
not provide a recommended method of screening (signage, tracker,
etc.). Realistically, the implementation of the screening
requirement may look different across workplaces. We suggest that
employers consider the following:

  • Create an in-person screening point
    upon entry into the workplace which would ensure the worker is
    being asked the required questions;
  • Create a documentary record of
    responses. In doing so, advise employees that the information
    collected will be used only to verify compliance, and for no other
    reason. Seek consent to collect the information;
  • Where this is not possible (i.e.
    larger workplaces with multiple entrances), put clear signage with
    screening questions at all entrances. The signs should state that
    those who answer any of the questions in the affirmative cannot
    enter. Have documentary evidence of what the signs say, as well as
    where they were placed;
  • Look into technology, which creates
    what is effectively a sign-in on attendance, to be installed on the
    employees’ phone or sent to them by email; and
  • Co-ordinate with any other party
    responsible for advising employees of compliance. For example,
    where the business is in a building under property management, make
    compliance with the property manager’s rules part of the
    process.

Despite the fact that many workplaces had previously implemented
screening similar to what is now mandatory under the regulation,
given the new requirements, it is vital for workplaces to either
adjust their current screening protocols to comply with the CMOH
guidelines or implement a new screening process altogether. Though
it is not codified in the regulations, employers should continue to
encourage employees to self-monitor and adhere to social distancing
guidelines inside and outside of the workplace, as well as follow
any additional guidance from public health officials.

Co Authored by: Stacey Blydorp, Student-at-Law

Originally published by Aird & Berlis, October
2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday – Ponoka News – Ponoka News

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Alberta confirmed 1,440 COVID-19 cases from over the weekend and seven additional deaths.

The cases are: 364 on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 504 on Sunday. The Saturday case number is another record for the province.

That’s identifying, on average, 480 COVID-19 cases over the weekend, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.

She said one of the challenges is to find a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions.

“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We’ve now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we’ve been seeking,” said Hinshaw.

The government imposed new temporary mandatory limits Monday – of 15 people – at most social gatherings for the City of Calgary and Edmonton.

In total, 118 people in Alberta are in hospitals with 16 in intensive care.

The total number of active cases in the province sat at 4,477 Monday afternoon up 826 from Friday’s 3,651.

The number of active cases in the central zone jumped to 162 from Friday’s 126. There are three people in hospital in the local zone with none in intensive care.

To date, there have been 953 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the local zone with 783 recoveries.

The deaths were in Edmonton and Calgary zones. The virus-death toll is at 307.

The City of Red Deer’s active cases sits at 39 up from Friday’s 31.

A letter was sent Monday to families alerting them of a positive case of the virus at Gateway Christian School in Red Deer.

On Monday, Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School was on province’s watch list.

Red Deer County had 10 active cases Monday afternoon, two in Town of Sylvan Lake, six in Lacombe County, one in the City of Lacombe, 45 in Ponoka County, two in County of Wetaskiwin, and 11 in City of Wetaskiwin.

There were two active cases in the Town of Olds, three in Clearwater County, five in Kneehill County, four in Camrose County, six in City of Camrose and one in Town of Drumheller.

There are no active cases in Mountain View County, Starland County and County of Stettler.

One of the challenges of the increasing active case numbers is it creates pressure on COVID-19 response including contact-tracing, said Hinshaw.

She said Alberta is also challenged between polarizing views on the virus: on one hand “we have to drive to zero cases” and on another “COVID is a mild illness for most so we should let it spread freely and pursue herd immunity.”

“COVID is a novel disease that is not just the flu,” Hinshaw said. “It has the ability to overwhelm our health system and weaken essential services if we let it do so.”

She encouraged Albertans to maintain respectful dialogue and to not let COVID-19 divide the province.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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Mandatory gathering restrictions return to Edmonton, Calgary as Alberta sets new single-day COVID-19 record | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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There were 1,440 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Alberta over the weekend. That prompted Dr. Deena Hinshaw to re-introduce limits of 15 people or less at social gatherings, saying we have now “crossed a tipping point.” Julia Wong has the details from Monday’s health update.

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St. Albert's COVID-19 active case count hits 124 – St. Albert TODAY

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The number of St. Albertans currently diagnosed with COVID-19 grew to 124 cases over the weekend, marking the first time the city’s active case count has risen above 100.

This represents an increase of 33 people from Friday, Oct. 23. A total of 269 St. Albertans have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 to date. Of those, 143 people have recovered. Two people have died.

The province reported 1,440 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a record 572 cases reported on Saturday. With this increase, Alberta announced on Monday new mandatory limits on gatherings of up to 15 people in Edmonton and Calgary. 

“I don’t ask that you fear COVID-19, but that you respect it. COVID is a novel disease that is not just the flu – it has the ability to overwhelm our health system and weaken essential services if we let it do so,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, during Monday’s update. 

“Respecting COVID-19 means taking public health advice seriously, and not only taking care of ourselves, but also our communities by preventing transmission,”

There are currently 4,477 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. Of those, 2,179 active cases are recorded in the Edmonton zone. To date, 20,949 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.

There are 118 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 16 in intensive care. There were seven additional deaths reported since Oct. 23.

There are 276 active cases and 1,306 recovered cases at continuing care facilities. Of those, 186 residents have died.

Over the last two weeks in Edmonton and Calgary, social gatherings made up just 15 per cent of all outbreaks, but almost a third of all outbreak-related cases, Hinshaw said. Meanwhile, workplace outbreaks made up about 15 per cent of outbreaks and outbreak-related cases. 

Just six per cent of all COVID-19 cases in those aged 5 to 19 since Sept. 1 have been acquired at school, Hinshaw said. This indicates schools are not a main driver of community transmission, but rising community transmission is resulting in more school exposures, she said. 

Hinshaw said the province is in a “crucial” stage right now to reduce the rate of growth of COVID-19 cases. 

“You have heard me say many times that we need to achieve a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions,” she said.  

“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We have now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we have been seeking. This weekend’s COVID-19 numbers tell the story clearly. We identified on average 480 cases of COVID-19 per day over the weekend.”

 

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