Note from Michael, Feb. 15, 2022 | Stage 1 of Moving On plan

From the desk of Dr. Michael Gardam, Health PEI CEO

Hi everyone,

As a follow-up to last week’s email about the easing of restrictions on PEI and how that may affect Health PEI, I want to provide a brief update.

On Feb. 17, certain restrictions will be eased across the province. Many of these restrictions are more applicable to activities that occur outside Health PEI, rather than internally. However, there are a few that will change how we operate in some ways.
 

THINGS THAT CAN CHANGE ON FEB.17

1. Travel restrictions

  • We currently have travel restrictions for those who plan to travel off-Island for non-essential reasons. An employee must first get permission for non-essential travel. 
  • As of Feb 17, CPHO will no longer require isolation for those who are fully vaccinated and who travel off-Island (they will be required to undergo a testing regime). 
  • As such, as of Feb. 17, Health PEI employees may travel off-Island for non-essential reasons without seeking their supervisor’s permission. 
  • Similarly, travel for training purposes is permitted as of this Thursday.

2. Working from the Office

  • Administrative staff have been asked to work from home where possible since December across Health PEI and to avoid in-person meetings. 
  • The “Moving On” plan notes softened language around working from home as of February 17. Working from home is still encouraged, but teams may begin to gradually move back to their office spaces as of Thursday. In-person meetings may also occur. 
  • However, in all office settings, please member to keep 2 meters between people in both formal and informal meetings (i.e. quick chats) and wear medical-grade masks at all times when with others. 
  • Masks may be removed only when alone in your workspace. 

    2.1 Remote Work Policy

  • Teams members may also choose to work from home longer term, in consultation with their managers. 
  • A new Remote Work Policy has been approved by the Executive Leadership Team and is currently following the usual process of union and other consultations. Once finalized, we will send it around to all of you.
  • Team members who want to work from home are encouraged to review this document once finalized and speak with your manager about possibilities. 
     

THINGS THAT WON’T CHANGE ON FEB. 17

1. Masking and PPE protocols and infection control measures

  • Masking in indoor spaces continues to be required under the CPHO guidelines after Feb. 17.
  • Even when Public Health lifts these guidelines for the general public, we will continue the use of mask and goggles by all clinical staff in patient-facing roles for an extended period. This is being done across the country so we are not unique in continuing with this practice. There is no doubt that new infection control guidance will be released at some point this year but we do not know when. 
  • Similarly, we expect to maintain mandatory masking for patients and visitors for some time after they are removed for the general public.
  • Other infection control measures within clinical areas and staff areas, such as physical barriers and mandatory physical distancing, will remain in place for now

2. Vaccinate or test policy

  • The requirement to be vaccinated or test regularly for COVID-19 has not been lifted from a CPHO order perspective, and this policy will remain in place until further notice. Once we are able to lift this policy, we plan to do so. 
  • Thank you to the nearly 98 per cent of people who are fully vaccinated! There is a lag in people getting booster shots however, and I encourage you to go ahead and get yours. I will have more to say about booster shots in a follow up update. 

3. Internal Contact Tracing

  • We will continue to contact trace within our facilities when cases occur among staff. This may change in the future, but only after we get much more acquainted to living with COVID and it starts to be treated more like influenza. We are not there yet; however, we look forward to relaxing this as soon as we can and are allowed to do so.

4. LTC testing

  • Public Health orders will continue to require Long Term Care staff to undergo testing. Specific information about this testing was shared on Feb. 14 with all staff. Again, we look forward to relaxing this requirement as soon as we can and are allowed to do so. 
     

Moving forward with the Moving On plan

I’m happy we can share the above information with you promptly. I do recognize there are many more questions that we may not be able to answer as quickly.

The Emergency Response Team is working with CPHO to determine how our organization will respond to Stage 2 and 3 of the Moving On plan. We are evaluating what changes may be required to how we offer clinical services, and we are looking at how the plan may change the need for testing clinics and other direct COVID services.

We do not have all of these details yet and, generally, we continue to operate as usual for now (except for the above-noted changes.)

I will share any information we have about changes as soon as possible. 

We are evaluating this from all angles. One benefit we have on PEI is our restrictions are not being lifted as quickly as in other provinces, and we may learn some of the lessons from their experiences. This may allow PEI to move faster than originally planned. 

However, it will be important to see whether they experience a rise in cases and hospitalizations, which could inform our decisions. I’m hoping they don’t, but we’ll be preparing to respond and shift approaches as we always have to protect services, patients and of course, maintain the safety of staff. There is always the chance that something new could happen with COVID epidemiology that could force the world to rethink reopening plans. 
 

Townhall Video

Much of the information above was shared in a town hall with leaders last week. You can view the video below. We have confirmed more details since then, so please refer to the above as the most up-to-date resource.

Please send questions, comments, or submissions for these notes to emclean@gov.pe.ca, subject line “Notes for Michael”.

Last Updated
Tue, 02/15/2022 - 21:00