Head health official reminding bosses to actively screen employees at the start of the workday

Safe physical distance and mask usage key in helping to prevent workplace outbreaks

Simcoe Muskoka’s top doc is urging employers to remember and screen their employees at the onset of every work day, in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, has sent out a letter of clarification to local businesses, reminding employers of the steps required to keep everyone safe in the workplace. Among those steps is the active screening of employees at the start of their shift.

The letter to employers, an update to one sent out last week, also expands on expectations surrounding the need for physical distancing among employees, even during breaks. The letter highlights the ramifications of close contacts among employees diagnosed with COVID-19 should precautions not be taken.

The letter, signed by Garnder, indicates there has been a substantial increase in workplace transmission in the region, often resulting in outbreaks. “This is due, in part, to a failure of workplaces to meet the requirements of the provincial health and safety legislation and the public health preventive measures for the workplace.”

“It is important that workplaces understand and carryout the necessary precautions to keep their employees, customers and clients safe,” said Dr. Gardner. “That is why I have issued updated instructions, effective December 5 at 12:01 a.m., and I expect all businesses and organizations to do their part and follow the instructions.”

In his letter, Gardner clarifies that there are some workplaces exempt from taking these measures. Licensed childcare programs, health care providers, personal care service providers, and most schools.

Dr. Gardner’s updated letter of instruction can be found on the SMDHU website.