Working safely during COVID-19

As global efforts are put into place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus the DATAC wants to make sure that all collectors and TPAs are aware of the appropriate temporary measures to take to ensure the continued safety of all employees and operations.

For those who are still doing testing, it has become important to temporarily implement extra screening protocols for all clients and/or employees who are continuing to offer testing services. DATAC is watching the ongoing situation as it changes day-by-day and will continue to look to the Public Health Agency of Canada as well as the provincial counterparts, for their latest advice as to recommended precautions.

Collection Precautionary Protocols during COVID-19 Pandemic

The following initial screening questions are a recommended minimum of what should be asked prior to testing:

  • Confirm that any individuals who are coming in for testing have not travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.
  • Confirm that the individual coming in for testing has none of the following signs of illness; fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.
  • Confirm if any person, that the individual lives with, has any of the above signs of illness.

Considerations

  • Symptomatic individuals should not be tested until they have been symptom-free for 14 days.
  • Travellers will be tested once they have been back in Canada for a minimum of 14 days and are symptom-free.

Other precautions which should be taken:

  • Stagger the test times so that there is not more than one person awaiting testing at a time. If this is unavoidable, place chairs 2 m (6 ft.) apart.
  • The collector should be using the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), this includes gloves, mask and safety glasses.
    • Protective masks should be properly fitted N95 or equivalent. Dust masks or surgical masks will do nothing to protect the wearer from the virus.
    • Face shields are recommended as an option, in addition to safety glasses
    • Surgical masks may be used on the donor to reduce the amount of airborne material that may be expelled during a cough or sneeze.
  • Regularly wash hands for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Please keep in mind that as the situation continues to evolve, new restrictions may have an impact on the services you will be able to provide due to public health measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus, such as social distancing and restricted movement. 

DATAC strongly advises that all of those working within the drug and alcohol testing industry consider implementing these measures to make sure they are keeping themselves safe and not adding to the spread of the virus.

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