Appearance of the Deputy Minister of Health before the Standing Committee on Health on Coronavirus
Table of contents
- Copy of PHAC Material
- Health Canada Material
The first part of the meeting will be the election of the Chair of HESA (we expect this to take 5 minutes or less). We expect that the Committee will then move to the briefing on coronavirus.
The President of PHAC and CPHO will be attending. We expect that the President will make about seven minutes of opening remarks and the rest of the meeting will be used to answer questions from HESA members.
It is our understanding as of close of business Tuesday January 28, that deputy heads for CBSA and GAC will appear at the Monday February 3 HESA meeting to provide a briefing on their roles in the coronavirus outbreak.
Qs and As
2019 Novel Coronavirus
Occupational Health Advice and Guidance for Federal Employees
What guidance has been provided to federal public servants?
Health Canada is responsible for providing occupational health and safety advice to federal departments.
We have issued a general Occupational Health Advisory for departments and agencies (January 22) which reflects the advice we have provided Canadians including:
- frequent hand hygiene
- proper cough and sneeze etiquette
- self-monitoring for symptoms
Given the variety of work settings of federal personnel, Health Canada has also provided supplemental advisories with recommendations pertaining to specific places of work.
What about federal employees working at airports?
Health Canada has worked with the Canada Border Services Agency to provide more detailed information about what personal protective equipment to use when working in proximity to travellers.
Information sessions have been delivered to over 600 border service officers at the key airports.
What steps have been taken with respect to employees at the Canadian Mission in China?
Advice and guidance specific for those serving at Canada’s mission is China have ben developed with Global Affairs.
All of this advice will be updated if required as the situation evolves.
Missions in China
Occupational Health Advisory: Novel Coronavirus at Missions in China
Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP)
As of 28 January 2020
In addition to the above noted general information and recommendations, for those working at missions in China by the Novel Coronavirus, the following precautions/recommendations apply.
For all individuals working at missions in China
To reduce your risk of getting ill:
- Be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice.
- Avoid all travel to Hubei Province, China.
- Avoid large public gatherings, crowds or crowded areas.
- Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered.
- Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead).
- Avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them.
- Avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products.
- Stay up to date on the current situation by reviewing travel advice and advisories regularly.
- If you or your family members have other medical conditions or concerns, please contact your Emergency Watch and Response Centre at + 1-613-996-8885 who will then get you in touch with the designated medical consultant.
For anyone who may be working directly with visitors at mission
At designated entrances, prior to any visitor interaction, signage will be available to remind all visitors that if presenting with symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) they are not to enter the mission/facility. Continue to work with your mission security department to coordinate these efforts.
- Use environmental and engineering controls already in place (e.g. reception desk with glass barrier, limit number of visitors entering facility).
- Ensure a supply of tissues, hand sanitizer, masks and a wastebasket are available in the public areas.
- In areas where the first contact with the visitor occurs, implement standard screening questions:
- If you are not located in China; Have you traveled in China?
- Have you traveled in the Province of Hubei, China or visited Wuhan, China in the last 14 days?
- Are you feeling sick or unwell right now?
- If the visitor answers “yes” to all questions, do not allow entry to facility. Instruct them to seek medical attention at the nearest appropriate health care facility and provide a mask and alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the visitor.
- Surgical or procedure type masks are recommended for use by visitors and staff that are ill. The intent of the mask is to prevent respiratory droplets from dispersing into the air and potentially infecting others. The use of masks by people who do not have symptoms is not recommended by PSOHP at this time. However, public health recommendations may be different in China and other areas. Please follow local public health advice.
- Where possible, keep a distance greater than two meters from an individual.
- Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection practices in the workplace with an emphasis on high traffic areas.
Personal protective equipment
PSOHP recommends the use of the following personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency supplies when interacting with a visitor to the mission:
- Gloves (single use disposable non-sterile disposable medical type gloves) when handling documents and/or personal belongings of visitors. The gloves can be made of latex, vinyl or nitrile. Please note that some people are allergic to latex. Thin, transparent gloves that are often used in food service are not recommended.
- Gloves are recommended when handling any documents that have been handed over to them by a visitor. The gloves should be changed and disposed of in between visitors. It is important to know how to put on and take off gloves and hand hygiene (use of antibacterial hand sanitizer or hand washing) must be performed before and after using gloves. It is also important to avoid all contact between gloves and the eyes/nose/mouth to prevent potential transmission of the virus.
- Advice from your departmental occupational health and safety personnel is recommended in regards to the choice and use of PPE.
- The use of masks by people who do not have symptoms is not recommended by PSOHP at this time. However, public health recommendations may be different in China and other countries. Please follow local public health advice. In the event that masks are worn, masks should be changed when they become moist or wet.
If you or a family member is feeling ill
If you or a family member is feeling ill with symptoms of a respiratory illness (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), do not go to work and advise your supervisor. See the following link for more information on the Novel Coronavirus infection:
- If you become ill at the mission, put on a surgical-type mask at the earliest opportunity, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and try to maintain a distance of two meters from others.
Avoid contact with others and contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre at + 1-613-996-8885.
Occupational Health Advisory: Novel Coronavirus
Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP), Health Canada
As of 24 January 2020
Please note that this advice may change as more information becomes available.
To provide federal employees with occupational health advice in relation to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Common signs of infection with a coronavirus include fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
So far there has been limited human to human transmission of this novel coronavirus.
Given the evolving status of this disease outbreak, please refer to the following link for up-to-date information:
- Public Health Agency of Canada (January 21, 2020). 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection (Wuhan, China): Outbreak update (canada.ca\coronavirus).
Standard precautions for all federal employees include:
- Frequent hand hygiene is important.
- Hands must be washed each time gloves are changed or discarded.
- Wash hands before preparing, handling, serving or eating food.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed or gloved hands.
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs. Remember if you use a tissue, to dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
- Federal employees should self-monitor for symptoms. If an employee develops fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing they should seek medical attention and report these symptoms to their occupational health and safety department.
If there are any questions or concerns regarding this advisory and/or your present health status, please consult with the occupational health and safety resource personnel within your department.
For psychosocial support for federal workers, contact your department’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Given that employees of the core public administration work in a variety of settings domestically and internationally, this General Advisory will be supplemented by annexes with information and recommendations pertaining to specific places of work (for example, airports).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (January 22, 2020). 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Wuhan, China.
- Infection Prevention and Control Canada (January 20, 2020). Information about Coronavirus.
- Government of Canada (January 22, 2020). Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
- Public Health Agency of Canada (January 21, 2020). Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms and treatment.
- World Health Organization (January 9, 2020). Q&A on coronaviruses.
- World Health Organization (December 31, 2019). Novel Coronavirus.
Annex A: Airports of Entry – As of 27 January 2020
Annex B: Missions in China – As of 28 January 2020
Annex A - Airports
Occupational Health Advisory: Novel Coronavirus at Airports of Entry
Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP)
As of 27 January 2020
In addition to the above noted general information recommendations, for federal employees working at airports of entry, the following precautions/recommendations apply.
PSOHP offers the following recommendations for federal workers who may be working with travelers:
- Be up-to-date with all recommended adult vaccinations as per the Canadian Immunization Guide. For communicable disease advice or immunization status queries, call your local public health authorities or the Public Service Occupational Health Program Office in your region.
- Meet their recommended immunizations as outlined for their occupational group as per Health Canada’s Occupational Health Assessment Guide (OHAG).
- Where possible, keeping a distance greater than two metres from an individual who appears ill (e.g. coughing, sneezing).
- Having the ill person wear a mask and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the earliest opportunity.
- Isolating the ill person from others, when feasible, in a separate area or room.
- Ensuring a supply of tissues, hand sanitizer, masks and a wastebasket are available in the room.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Federal workers should follow standard precautions as per their departmental occupational health and safety program.
PSOHP recommends the use of the following PPE:
- gloves when handling documents and baggage of potentially ill persons
- gloves, eye/face protection and a mask when escorting and remaining with an ill person
All staff should be trained on the correct technique and sequence for putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) their PPE. Advice from your departmental occupational health and safety personnel is recommended in regards to the choice and use of PPE.
Please consult your department’s standard operating procedures for further guidance on the management of individuals who have been identified as requiring follow-up by a quarantine officer.
TO: All employees
SUBJECT: Information about 2019 novel coronavirus
I am writing to provide employees with information related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV), which was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019.
Since then, the Public Health Agency of Canada has been working with international partners, including the World Health Organization, provincial and territorial counterparts, and other federal departments and agencies to monitor and respond to this evolving situation.
As you know, Canada has identified cases of coronavirus. This was not unexpected and reflects that our health systems are on alert and taking appropriate steps to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in Canada. Our healthcare system is well prepared to handle the virus and the risk to Canadians continues to be low.
Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) has issued a general advisory to federal employees. It advises employees to continue to take general precautions to reduce their risk of infection, such as washing their hands often with soap and water, coughing or sneezing into their arm or tissue, avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. The PSOHP continues to work with federal departments and agencies to provide occupational health advice for federal employees working at points of entry (e.g., airports) and other key workplace settings.
[Departments to insert organization-specific messaging as required]
Since this is an evolving situation, visit Canada.ca/coronavirus for the latest information. You can also follow Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Twitter for up-to-date information.
|January 14, 2020||Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health||Members discussed the emergence of pneumonia clusters in China and the current state of domestic readiness.|
|January 23, 2020||Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health||Members discussed the current situation of the 2019-n-CoV, as well as the risk communications and case definition.|
|January 24, 2020||Health Ministers' Meeting||Minister Hajdu and Dr. Theresa Tam provided an update on the current situation of the 2019-n-CoV. PT ministers were able to ask questions to Dr.Tam and Minister Hajdu.|
|January 28, 2020||Special Advisory Committee on 2019 Novel Coronavirus||This will be the first meeting of the Special Advisory Committee on 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The discussion will focus on governance, domestic readiness and updates on the current situation of the 2019-n-CoV.|
|January 29, 2020||Council of Deputy Ministers of Health||DM Lucas and Dr. Theresa Tam will provide an update on the current situation of the 2019-n-CoV. PTs DMs will have the opportunity to provide updates for their jurisdictions.|
|January 30, 2020||Health Ministers' Meeting||Minister Hajdu and Dr. Theresa Tam will provide an update on the current situation of the 2019-n-CoV.|
|January 30, 2020||Special Advisory Committee on 2019 Novel Coronavirus||Members will continue discussions on domestic planning and response and updates on the current situation of the 2019-n-CoV.|
Deputy Minister’s notes for the HESA Committee meeting concerning the Health Canada regulatory response to the novel strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
- Health Canada is actively working and collaborating with national and international government agencies to address the novel strain of coronavirus. It is only by working together that we will be able to counter these types of outbreaks that have no national boundaries.
- At the National level:
- Health Canada is working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and information exchanges are taking place on a daily basis.
- Health Canada has confirmed with Canada’s blood operators that they are actively monitoring the situation and that the existing donor questionnaire now obtains information about the donor’s travel history in the past 8 weeks and would identify recent travel to Wuhan and China. Health Canada in collaboration with the blood operators will continue to follow the situation closely.
- At the International level:
- The Department is committed to working with international partners, including the World Health Organization and a number of regulatory partners to address the coronavirus outbreak and extend our support to global efforts.
- Health Canada is in a position to support international efforts through Canada’s significant drug and medical device expertise and laboratory support, as required.
- Health Canada has also discussed the emerging situation with the US FDA.
- Health Canada is closely monitoring potential drugs and vaccines under development throughout the world. Some drugs being considered are already marketed in Canada for other diseases.
Preventive and treatment options
- There currently is no vaccine or drug marketed anywhere in the world known to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.
- The emergence of this novel virus and its human-to-human transmission has provoked a worldwide response towards rapidly developing preventive vaccines and treatments to halt the transmission and progression of this virus.
- Health Canada is actively preparing to support efficient access to vaccines and treatments when they become available.
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