Stepping up our COVID-19 health and safety practices

ESS Nurse Lead working on her laptop

At the start of the pandemic, ESS welcomed a new staff member to our team to help us navigate the changing landscape of delivering essential care safely during a pandemic.

In 2020, Kimberly Thompson RPN, joined our team as a Nurse Lead to help us stay up to date with infection prevention and control best practices, stay equipped with the necessary training and supplies (such as PPE), to safely provide essential community care and support.

In 2021 we received funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Resilient Communities Fund to help us rebuild and meet the changing needs of our agency and delivery of service and client care during the pandemic.  This includes helping us support the crucial health and safety work and leadership our Nurse Lead continues to provide during the ongoing pandemic.

Since receiving this funding, our Nurse Lead has worked with our internal Joint Health and Safety Committee to provide recommended health and safety protocols during the creation of our shared office space plan in preparation for a hybrid work model, and to ensure we comply with the ESS’ COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Protocols that were identified and implemented by our Nurse Lead are:

  • Placing hand sanitizing stations at all points of entry, points of care, and spaces used by staff.
  • Determining maximum occupancies of our sites and office spaces, and posting appropriate signage to practice physical distancing protocols indoors.
  • Screening processes to assess the presence of COVID-19 related symptoms and contact tracing for all individuals accessing our spaces.
  • Ongoing health and safety training for returning and newly onboarded staff and volunteers, including respirator mask fit testing and proper handling and disposal of PPE.
  • Quarterly environmental cleaning audits of spaces.
  • Heightened infection prevention and control measures based on the continuous and timely review of public health guidance.
  • Creation of a policies pertaining to the use of PPE and visitor access.
  • Implementation of the agency’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
  • A rapid antigen testing program.
  • Conducting quality control tests and managing the collection and reporting of test results.

Learn more about the work of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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