May 12th, 2020

The tourism industry is getting ready for re-opening in June. However we will be operating in a covid-19 environment and this means updating our procedures.

As we plan for re-opening, there is alot of new information to absorb.  To help, I’ve compiled resources and practices pertaining to first aid procedures during covid-19.

 

First Aid Classes will not begin yet, but your cert will not expire

Red Cross first aid certifications (which would have expired March through June 30, 2020) will be considered valid 90-days beyond their expiry date.

 

CPR during Covid-19

First aid protocols for an unresponsive person during COVID-19
Providing first aid during the COVID-19 pandemic can raise questions around safety and transmission. Outlined below are the first aid protocols that should be followed when attending to an unresponsive person.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving, and an individual’s risk is variable depending on location. If someone’s heart stops, and the First Aider is concerned they may have had respiratory symptoms, it is at the individual’s discretion to perform or not perform mouth-to-mouth breaths based on personal preference. It’s still important to call emergency medical services and find an AED. If the individual chooses to perform breaths, they can also use a barrier device, such as a pocket mask, to help protect themselves.
CPR with breaths is recommended for people who have been trained in CPR, but as an alternative, hands-only CPR can be performed until help arrives if the First Aider is unsure about putting their mouth on a stranger’s mouth, or has concerns the person may have COVID-19. If the individual chooses to perform hands-only CPR, they should first call 9-1-1, lay a cloth, a towel, or clothing over the person’s mouth and nose to prevent any potential spread of the virus through contaminated air or saliva, and then push hard and fast in the centre of the person’s chest until advanced help arrives. If the First Aider believes the person may have COVID-19, they should state their concerns to the emergency response telecommunicator so everyone who responds can be aware of the potential for COVID-19 transmission.

 

Worksafe BC’s update for occupational first aid attendants 

Information for employers and occupational first aid attendants on how to safely treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A brief overview:

  • Limit exposure to first aid attendants.
  • Gather information ahead of time and ask:

– Is anyone sick or in self-isolation in your household?

– Have you been in contact with anyone who has been sick?

  • Direct patient to treat themselves is possible.
  • Have PPE and know its application. (more info on PPE below)
  • After treatment sanitize all equipment with soap and water or 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  • Limit exposure of others; only those who need to will access the patient.

 

Phone resources

  • 1.888.COVID19 (1.888.268.4319): For non-medical information about COVID-19. Available 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., 7 days a week.
  • 8-1-1 (HealthLink BC): To talk to a nurse if you need advice about how you are feeling and what to do next.

 

More on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

The following details on PPE best practices is taken from the document provided by Go2HR in claboration with Worksafe BC. This document outlines essential protocol that tourism and hospitality businesses should adop as they restart or ramp up operations post the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link for the full article.

2.5.2 Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against infectious materials. It should serve as a last resort that should not replace any other risk control and infection control measures. However, sufficient stock of PPE should be kept to ensure its provision to protect employees from exposure to infectious agents in the workplace. The common PPE used includes:

Surgical mask Wear a surgical mask to protect mucous membranes of the nose and mouth during procedures that are likely to cause exposure to blood or body fluids (for example, in case of handling or segregating heavily soiled linen sheets or laundering items of hotel guests).

Particulate respirator Use a particulate respirator (e.g., N95 respirator) for first aid attendants, or for maintenance work on ventilation systems etc.

Gloves Wear disposable gloves when touching blood, body fluids, mucous membrane or contaminated items. Remove gloves promptly after use and perform hand hygiene immediately. Gloves do not replace hand hygiene.

Gown or apron Wear gown or apron to protect skin or trunk and to prevent soiling of clothing during procedures that are likely to generate splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions. Wear a coverall for conducting high pressure water spraying during ventilation system maintenance or when substantial whole-body contamination is anticipated. Remove soiled gown as promptly as possible and perform hand hygiene to avoid transfer of microorganisms to other people or environments.

Goggles / Face shield Wear a goggles / face shield to protect the mucous membrane of the eyes when carrying out procedure that are likely to generate splashes or sprays of blood or body fluids of the guests (e.g., handling of heavily soiled linen sheets or cleaning, changing dust filters of the ventilation system, or for first aid attendants). Wear goggles / face shield when conducting high pressure water spraying for ventilation system maintenance. Ordinary spectacles do not provide adequate protection. Goggles / face shield should be changed after procedure or whenever contaminated. Reusable goggles / face shield should be washed and decontaminated in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Hope you find some of these recourses useful. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any first aid related questions.

– Emre Bosut