COVID-19 update for correctional employees: Personal protective equipment and physical distancing: April 23, 2020

This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.

I'm writing to make a personal appeal to you to ensure that those of you who are working on the front lines make full use of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is available to you. This, combined with physical distancing and hygiene, are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our critical work environment.

Personal protective equipment

It's there for you; the first word in PPE is personal. Your PPE is the personal control you have to prevent the spread of the virus.

It provides protection; the second word is protection. PPE is an additional measure to protect those around you, even if you don't have symptoms. So, if you don't wear it or you don't use it properly, it can't do its job.

Correctional Service Canada (CSC) provided all critical workers in institutions with masks because you and your loved ones are important. I want you to wear your masks.

Read and follow the guidance carefully on PPE. Your mask is less effective, and perhaps even dangerous, if you touch it with unwashed hands or put it on and take it off frequently. Wash your hands, put it on, and keep it on. Handle and store it with care.

CSC guidance asks you to reuse your mask and other PPE as much possible to preserve our reserves. If you have a washable mask, make sure it is washed daily after use.

Physical distancing

COVID-19 is spread through droplets; droplets you exchange with others by being close to them or by touching them, or the surfaces they have touched. Maintaining a distance of two metres, or about six feet, is the most important way to avoid being exposed to the virus when we are unable to stay home.

We all enjoy and care about our colleagues, but we need to avoid sharing lunch close together or gathering in groups throughout the workday. Encourage your colleagues and the inmates to keep a safe distance between each other. When you cannot, the mask is an added layer of the protective measures available to you; wear it consistently when interacting with others.


CSC reminds you to:

One of the most effective ways to eliminate the COVID-19 virus is handwashing. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds significantly reduces the chances of spreading it. Where you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Do so regularly and avoid touching your face, which is most vulnerable to the virus.

Keep workspaces clean and uncluttered. Disinfect them regularly. CSC has increased the cleaning protocols to disinfect high-touch surfaces, but you can do your part by keeping your hands clean and where possible, keeping surfaces clean and encouraging your colleagues and offenders to do the same.

These measures are in place to keep you and all of our staff and offenders safe. We will all do better if we work together.

Thank you again for your tremendous work.

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