Covid-19 Response Plan

 

Click here to view / print this plan in PDF format:  Updated COVID-19 BCS Preparedness Plan

 

Bear Creek Services is committed to providing a safe and healthy space for everyone we support, our employees, and anyone visiting one of our properties. To ensure this, we have developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our highest priority is to simply, keep COVID-19 out of our programs. Only through this cooperative effort can we maintain the safety and health of all.

We are all responsible for implementing and complying with this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We encourage our employees to ask questions, raise safety and health concerns, and offer suggestions related to the plan and its implementation.

Our Direct Support Professionals are our most important asset and essential to implementing the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan successfully. Prior to this Preparedness Plan, BCS has communicated myriad messages and protocols to employees, parents/guardians, board members, and other key stakeholders. We have provided ongoing COVID-19 updates, answered questions and solicited feedback via a variety of avenues, including Therap, email, and posted communication.

Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows MN Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards related to safety and health precautions required in response to COVID-19 and applicable executive orders.

The plan addresses the following:

1. Procedures that assist in the identification of sick employees and ensure sick employees stay home;

2. Social distancing;

3. Employee and supported individual hygiene and source controls;

4. Cleaning and disinfecting protocols;

5. Visitor protocols;

6. Food Preparation protocols;

7. Ventilation protocols;

8. Transportation protocols;

9. Communications, training, and supervision practices and protocols.


1. Procedures for Identification of Sick Employees and Ensuring Sick Employees Stay Home

Employees will self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following protocols assess employee’s health status prior to entering the workplace and reporting when they are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

 Upon first entry to any Bear Creek Services location, every employee or visitor must take their temperature and be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, based on the most updated CDC guidelines. If anyone has a fever or COVID-19 symptoms, they will immediately vacate the home/office or not be allowed to enter.

 Those doing direct care must contact their supervisor or Program On-Call supervisor immediately if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. The Program On-Call supervisor will work with scheduling to find staff replacement in the event a staff person is unable to work due to symptoms of COVID-19.

 Temperatures and symptoms are recorded on a symptom tracking sheet provided by Bear Creek Services’ Emergency Response Lead. BCS staff will maintain their symptom information in a folder maintained by the employee for privacy. Supervisors, COVID Emergency Response Lead, or Human Resources may review these documents as necessary, but information will be made available on a need to know basis for COVID-19 response only. Emergency Response Lead will assure symptom tracking information is updated as communicated by CDC/MDH.

 BCILS employees will do the same temperature screening prior to any contact with individuals receiving supports, either at the BCILS office or independently, prior to their scheduled shift. All other processes described above will be followed.

 Any employee who is not feeling well while at work should make arrangements go home following standard reporting to Program On-Call/Supervisor. Employees who are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested immediately and notify their supervisor, who will notify the Emergency Response Lead. They will not return to work until it is safe to do so following CDC/MDH guidelines, as communicated by the Emergency Response Lead.

 Employees will be asked to self-quarantine following the most current CDC/MDH guidelines if they have direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact your supervisor if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, and follow directions as provided by the Emergency Response Lead.

 Bear Creek Services is compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employee COVID-19 test results are treated as confidential medical records. Positive test results are reported internally to activate proper sanitation and isolation protocols, but personal identity is not disclosed.

 MDH will be contacted in the event of a positive test result. Bear Creek Services will follow the directives given by MDH, as these have changed throughout the pandemic. Other at risk employees and people served will be notified based on the recommendations of MDH.
Employees must stay home when they are sick, when household members are sick, or when they (or a member of their household) are required to isolate or quarantine. Bear Creek Services, Inc. permits employees to take time off due to COVID-19. Accommodations for employees with underlying medical conditions or who have household members with underlying health conditions are established on an individual basis with supervisors and the Human Resources Director.

2. Social Distancing

Social distancing of six feet will be implemented and maintained between employees, visitors, volunteers, and people served. It is understood that not all individuals that are supported by Bear Creek Services understand the need for social distancing. It is the responsibility of Direct Support Professionals to teach, coach, mentor and encourage social distancing to the level of understanding of each person served.

 Common seating areas will be spaced as to allow for at least 6 feet of distance between people supported in Residential Settings. Chairs will be lined up in such a way as to not face each other to reduce transmission caused from virus containing droplets (e.g. from talking, coughing, sneezing).


 Meals should be staggered or spaced such that people are at least 6 feet apart from each other and do not sit directly across from each other, to reduce transmission caused by virus containing droplets.

 Staff should maintain at least 6 feet apart as much as possible. In the event that staff need to work in close proximity, both eye protection and masks use is required.

 Staff meetings will be held to create as much distance as possible between staff. All staff will wear masks and eye protection if at least 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained between staff. Staff should not sit directly across from each other to reduce transmission of virus containing droplets.

 Only one staff person at a time shall be in the Residential Setting office. Staff will disinfect all touched surfaces before leaving the office area.

 Employees are not permitted to use someone else’s personal protective equipment. All required personal protective equipment (PPE) are provided by Bear Creek Services to all employees to follow the recommended standards set forth by the CDC/MDH.

 Individuals living in their own home will be encouraged to follow social distancing. Staff assisting individuals in their own home or in the community will demonstrate social distancing while providing support when possible. Staff will maintain proper PPE while working with individuals who live independently.

 Large group gatherings are prohibited indoors. Outdoor gathering must allow for social distancing of all people present. Proper PPE is required.
Administrative office staff that have been identified as able to work remotely can continue to work remotely as often as is appropriate to successfully complete their job.

 Administrative office staff will maintain at least 6 feet between each other and visitors as much as possible. Face mask usage will be required as stated elsewhere in this document.

 Staff will avoid gathering in small spaces, such as an office, the copy room, or the hallway.

 Confidential conversations, in a closed office, will require that all parties wear masks and distance as much as possible within the space. Sitting across from each other will be avoided as much as possible.

 Staff who share an office should stagger time in the office as much as possible. Desks should not face each other to offer maximum distance between employees and proper PPE must be maintained at all times.

 Conference room seating will allow for 6 feet of distance between individuals. The appropriate conference room will be used depending on the size of the group to allow for social distancing. Whenever possible, remote meetings should be held. Staff will disinfect surfaces after use.

 Restrooms should be limited to one person at a time. Disinfectant spray will be available for use between occupants.

 Staff using the break room/kitchen will maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other. Staff should avoid eating at the same time in the break room/kitchen. Staff shall disinfect surfaces after use.

 Large group gatherings are prohibited indoors. Outdoor gathering must allow for social distancing of all people present. Proper PPE is required.
BCILS Employees that have been identified as able to work remotely can continue to work remotely as often as is appropriate to successfully complete their job.

 Staff will maintain social distancing guidelines established for their workspace. Staff who share an office should stagger time in the office as much as possible. Desks should not face each other to offer maximum distance between employees, and proper PPE must be maintained.

 Confidential conversations, in a closed office, will require that all parties wear masks and distance as much as possible within the space. Sitting across from each other will be avoided as much as possible.

 Desks and computers will be spaced to allow for at least 6 feet between workstations. In the event that there is less than 6 feet, that workstation will not be utilized.

 Staff will avoid gathering in small spaces.

 While in the break room, staff shall maintain 6 feet apart from each other, if more than one person needs the space at the same time. Only one person will eat in the break-room at a time.

 Conference room seating will allow for 6 feet of distance between individuals. Whenever possible, remote meetings should be held. Staff will disinfect surfaces after use.

 Large group gatherings are prohibited indoors. Outdoor gathering must allow for social distancing of all people present. Proper PPE is required.

3. Hygiene and Source Controls (for Employees and Supported Individuals Accessing Bear Creek Services Properties)

 All employees will wash their hands regularly. Staff are required to wash their hands after being in a public place, before and after eating, after using the toilet, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

 Wash hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol. Bear Creek Services will keep a supply of hand sanitizer available at all properties. A supervisor should be contacted in writing (SComm or Email) when supplies are getting low, so they can be replaced before it is gone. Hand sanitizer should be made easily available to any staff or visitor entering one of our residential homes (group homes). It is not safe for all homes to maintain sanitizer at the door, so staff will offer hand sanitizer to visitors.

 Staff will encourage hand-washing by people supported as described above for employees. In the event that someone is unable to wash their hands without assistance, staff will wash hands of people supported. Proper PPE will be worn while assisting with these direct care.

 Employees working directly with people supported will wear surgical masks according to the directions given by the Emergency Response Lead. As these masks become more available, Bear Creek Services will reduce the amount of time a mask must be reused. Staff will follow the most current guidelines. If unsure, staff will ask their supervisor. Masks must be worn throughout each shift or while in the presence of other people, including other employees and people served.

 Additional PPE is required when working with individuals who are receiving personal care supports, including single use gloves and protective eye-wear.

 In the event that an individual in a residential setting (group home) demonstrates symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for the virus, additional PPE will be provided, including: face shield, gowns, and shoe booties (as available). Staff will be taught the proper donning and doffing procedures. In the event that N95 masks may be used, proper fit testing will be completed.

 Individual action plans will be used for any person supported in their own home, through BCILS. Staff will be use additional PPE when providing transportation for persons suspected of or showing symptoms of COVID 19.

 All individuals living within a Bear Creek Services Residential Setting will be monitored twice daily for COVID-19 Symptoms, including daily temperature checks and Oximeter readings. Symptom tracking will be based on the most updated symptom guidelines from MDH/CDC as directed by the Emergency Response Lead.

 Individuals supported in their own home will be encouraged to track symptoms and allow for temperature checks by staff during scheduled staffing time. In the event that individuals refuse, staff will observe for presence of COVID-19 symptoms during scheduled staffing time.

 Personal hygiene items will be stored away from the bathroom sink, as these can be areas of contamination. Discourage setting down of toothbrush on the counter or sink.

 All Bear Creek properties will maintain adequate supplies of tissues for proper cough/sneeze protection. Disposal will be in no touch garbage containers.

 All employees, visitors, volunteers, and people supported should avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed/non-sanitized hands.

 Administrative Office Personnel will wear cloth masks. Cloth masks should be laundered daily. Office personnel are not required to wear a mask when at their own personal work space, but should apply a mask if anyone enters their work space or while in the hallway, conference rooms, restrooms, copy/mail room, or kitchen. In the event of a shared workspace, all staff are responsible to follow cleaning and disinfecting protocol. Proper PPE will be worn at all times in a shared work space where more than 6 feet cannot be maintained.

 Bear Creek Services Administration Office and BCILS Office will maintain hand sanitizer at all entrances. Visitors will be allowed only through the main entrance. Employees are encouraged to use the door closest to their offices/work stations when entering the office.

4. Workplace Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols

Cleaning protocols for each Residential Setting have been established and is posted in each home.

 Staff will document per shift on the cleaning checklist that all identified surfaces have been cleaned according to the cleaning protocol.

 Staff have reviewed and signed the cleaning protocol documentation indicating their understanding and responsibility for maintaining a clean and safe environment.

 Cleaning of each residential setting will occur at least once per shift.

 A copy of the cleaning protocol will be made available to anyone requesting this document.  BCILS staff accessing the BCILS office will clean and disinfect following the cleaning checklist created for their respective positions.

 Staff will document daily that cleaning has been followed according to the protocol.

 Staff have reviewed and signed the cleaning protocol documentation indicating their understanding and responsibility for maintaining a clean and safe environment.

 A copy of the cleaning protocol will be posted and made available to anyone requesting this document.  Administration Office staff will be responsible for maintaining a clean and safe work environment.

 Staff will be responsible for cleaning their own offices using available cleaning supplies and following the cleaning protocol.

 Common areas will be cleaned at least daily, following the cleaning protocol.

 Staff have reviewed and signed the cleaning protocol documentation indicating their understanding and responsibility for maintaining a clean and safe environment.

 A copy of the cleaning protocol posted and made available to anyone requesting this document.

5. Procedures for Visitors

All visitors will be screened for COVID 19 symptoms and documented on the screening document. Only visitor initials will be recorded, in the event that there is a need for tracing. Any visitor who exhibits signs of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter any Bear Creek Services property.

 All visitors will be required to wear a mask. Bear Creek Services will provide a mask if a visitor does not have one.

 Proper hand sanitation will be required and hand sanitizer is made available to all visitors.

 All visitors to the Administration Office and BCILS Office will be required to maintain social distancing throughout their visit.

 Visits with individuals supported in a Residential Setting will be outside as much as possible. Social distancing as described elsewhere in this document, will be maintained at all times.

 In the event that weather does not permit an outside visit, the garage will be utilized with the door open. Visits within a person’s bedroom will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances and the individual’s ability to maintain social distancing.

 Visitors will not be allowed in common areas.

 All areas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

 The person supported will be asked to change clothes, wash them immediately, and shower as appropriate. Thorough hand washing will be required.

 Individuals who live independently will be encouraged to monitor friends and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms, wear a mask, and maintain social distancing throughout their visit. Staff will coach and mentor as possible.

6. Procedures for Food Preparation and Meals

Food preparation within our Residential Settings will be done to minimize the chance for cross-contamination between people served, as well as Direct Support Professionals.

 Mealtime will be staggered as possible, depending on each Residential Setting. When staggering is not possible, seating will be addressed as outlined in Social Distancing.

 Individuals will not share any food or beverages. All condiments, salt, pepper, and other commonly used food items will not be made available at the table.

 Direct Support Professionals will adhere to strict food preparation hygiene, by washing hands as described elsewhere in this document. Due to single use glove shortage, staff should be cautious not to use gloves unless required for handling of certain products. Good hand hygiene should be sufficient.

 In homes where individuals assist with meal preparation as part of their person centered planning goals, staff will support, coach, and mentor good hand hygiene.

 Meals should be plated and served prior to eating to avoid cross contamination at the dining table. Only one person should touch serving utensils. If a person wishes to serve themselves, a separate set of serving utensils will be made available to that individual. Masks should be worn by any individual serving, including person’s served.

 For people living in their own homes who have a housemate, Direct Support Staff should coach, mentor, and teach safe food handling and hand hygiene.

7. Building Ventilation Protocols

Fresh air is essential to the health and well-being of supported individuals, employees, and visitors. All properties are encouraged to open windows as possible.

 Air conditioning/heating should be turned off when windows are open.

 Air conditioning/heating will be used according to posted information at each Residential Setting.

 Ceiling fans should not be used to reduce or eliminate air re-circulation.

 Steps should be taken within common areas of the Residential Settings to minimize airflow across people (no blowing fans in common areas). Reposition seating if air vents produce blowing across people sharing a common space, even when social distancing is occurring.

 The Administration office and BCILS office should arrange seating as necessary to minimize airflow across people. Ceiling fans in the Center Space should only be used when no people are present in the space (before use only).

 Maintenance Department should be contacted in the event that HVAC systems are not functioning properly.

8. Transportation

 Face masks will be worn while in transportation. In the event that a person supported does not tolerate a mask, they shall be the only person transported and will be seated as far away from the driver as possible.

 Minimize the number of people transported in an agency vehicle as possible. Separate individuals as much as possible.

 Do not have air recirculate in the vehicle. Use the vehicle’s ventilation system to exchange fresh air in from outside the vehicle. Lower the windows as much as possible or as tolerated by all passengers.

 Pre-coordinate trips to allow for cleaning and disinfecting between trips. All high touch areas must be cleaned and disinfected between trips and/or passengers.

 Staff will mentor, teach, and coach individuals accessing public transportation, including city bus, Uber, Lyft, or taxi, to wear appropriate face covering, use hand sanitizer, wash hands and face after travel, and follow social distancing precautions.

9. Communications, Training and Supervision Practices and Protocols

This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan will be provided to all Bear Creek Services employees for review on July 1, 2020, via Email, Therap SComm, and posting within each program. Signature of understanding will be required by each staff person within one week of posting or the next shift worked (whichever comes first). Signature sheets will be collected by each employee’s direct supervisor.

COVID-19 training is deployed to every current and future employee to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our persons supported via new employee orientation and/or College of Direct Support. Any volunteers that work directly with people supported will receive a copy of this plan.

Direct Support Professionals, in the course of their work, shall be responsible for coaching, teaching, and mentoring people supported to understand the parts of this plan that directly affect them. Program Coordinators and Program Managers will assure their staff have the supports they need to accomplish this work, including providing extra training as needed. Assuring the proper use of PPE is the responsibility of any and all supervisory staff.

If someone in the Residential Settings tests positive for COVID-19, additional training will be required via the Emergency Preparedness Lead or her designee.
The Executive Director, Emergency Preparedness Lead, Director of Nursing, Human Resources Director, Program Directors, and Facilities Coordinator were responsible for the creation of this plan. Feedback and recommendations should be addressed to the Executive Director.

The Training Coordinator is responsible to maintain the most updated copy on the College of Direct Support.


Resources

 Emergency Preparedness Lead- Emily Snyder, LPN: emilys@bearcreekservices.org 507-288-7195

 Executive Director- Linda Driessen: lindad@bearcreekservices.org

 MN Dept of Health: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus

 MN Executive Orders: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/execorders/eoresults?gov=44

 MN Department of Employment & Economic Development: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/workers/

 CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV

 MNOSHA: osha.compliance@state.mn.us or 877-470-6742

 Department of Labor & Industry: www.dli.mn.gov






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