Health PEI Health Care Workers: COVID-19 FAQs

The information below is effective as of October 6, 2021.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been developed through the COVID-19 Joint Response Team and Health PEI Human Resources (HR) to help inform Health PEI staff and physicians as the province details its approach to on-going COVID-19 public health measures. For the purpose of this information, all employees of Health PEI involved in providing care and/or services within Health PEI facilities and programs are considered Health Care Workers, as referenced below. This also includes physicians, students, volunteers, and contract workers.

These FAQs may change over time and will be updated as new information becomes available. New versions will be sent to staff and posted to Health PEI and Government websites.

Quesions regarding benefits leave and work requirements should be directed to your HR Manager. If you have further HR related questions that are not answered below, you can email COVID-19 Employee Information@ihis.org. They will be considered for future updates. You can also contact your HR Manager, if you require a direct response. 

I am a Health Care Worker and have not been vaccinated. Will I be tested for COVID-19?

As of September 24, 2021, per direction from the Chief Public Health Office (CPHO), all Health Care Workers who have only received a first dose of vaccine, a second dose of vaccine before 14 days post-administration, or are unvaccinated, must be screened with a COVID-19 rapid test. This direction includes Health Care Workers who do not have direct interaction with patients, residents or clients.

I am a Health Care Worker and have not been vaccinated. I will be tested for COVID-19, how do I administer the test?

Guidance for administering rapid tests is available on the Staff Resource Centre and attached to this FAQ.  Note:  Health Care Workers must wait a full 15 minutes to determine the test result.

I am a Health Care Worker and have not been vaccinated.  How frequently will I be tested for COVID-19?

All Health Care Workers in Health PEI facilities who have only received a first dose of vaccine, or are unvaccinated, will be tested up to a maximum of 3 times per week depending on work schedule. Frequency of rapid testing will be no greater than 48 hours before the start of a shift and must be completed prior to the start of a shift at every required interval. Staff who work full time will be expected to space out the three required test to the best of their ability throughout the week.

Work Schedule Examples

  • Health Care Worker works full time each week: Tests will be spaced out up to a maximum of 3 per week.
  • Health Care Worker works 1 shift per week: 1 test completed per shift.
  • Health Care Worker works 2 consecutive shifts weekly: Test once.
  • Health Care Worker works 3 consecutive shifts weekly: Test two times, no greater than 48 hours before the start of a shift.

I am a Health Care Worker, have not been vaccinated and am required to participate in rapid testing. Will my rapid tests have to be witnessed and can I take test kits home to complete?

Appropriate safety precautions, in accordance with the manufacturer’s label, must be taken for all rapid antigen tests to ensure the safety of the individual being tested as well as the individual witnessing the specimen collection. Rapid testing is conducted through a self-testing method; the specimen collection must be overseen and witnessed by a designated person at the facility in order to be compliant. Examples of witnesses can be an administrator, supervisor, clinical lead or staff member identified for the role. The test kit must be completed at the work site and be witnessed, therefore, kits cannot be taken home.

I am a Health Care Worker and I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Should I participate in rapid resting?

Rapid testing is not for anyone who has any symptoms of COVID-19. The tests are not to be used by anyone with symptoms or who has a known exposure to COVID-19 for the purposes of work place screening. Symptomatic and exposed individuals must follow current Public Health guidance in relation to any exposure notifications. Anyone with symptoms should be tested at a testing location using a lab based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

I am a Health Care Worker and am required to participate in regular COVID-19 rapid testing. What happens if I have a positive result?

If a Health Care Workers rapid test result is positive (considered a presumptive positive), they are to notify their supervisor and are to obtain a test (polymerase chain reaction – PCR) from an approved COVID-19 testing site. Health Care Workers with a positive rapid test result are to self-identify at the testing facility. They must self-isolate immediately until receiving a negative test (PCR) result from the testing facility.

I am a Health Care Worker employed with Health PEI, have not been fully vaccinated, and require regular COVID-19 testing in compliance with the CPHO Order. Will I be compensated for the time required to complete the rapid testing?

As with previous CPHO directives requiring testing; the testing was conducted off site at COVID-19 clinics and the Employer provided no additional compensation, as this was not an Employer requirement, but adherence to a public health order.

The Employer will be moving forward with the same approach; however, testing will no longer be off-site, but on-site at Health PEI facilities. There will be no additional compensation for prior testing.

I am a Health Care Worker, have not been fully vaccinated, and am refusing regular COVID-19 testing in compliance with the CPHO Order. Will I be compensated or re-assigned?

All unvaccinated Health Care Workers in Health PEI facilities, must be screened with a COVID-19 rapid test as per CPHO Order effective September 24, 2021. Unvaccinated Health Care Workers who refuse to participate in rapid testing will be placed on an unapproved leave, which will be unpaid, and will not be re-assigned.

I am a Health Care Worker and have not been fully vaccinated due to a medical exemption. Am I still required to participate in mandatory rapid testing?

All unvaccinated Health Care Workers in Health PEI facilities, regardless of exemption status, must participate in COVID-19 rapid testing in keeping with the CPHO Order. Medical contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine should be issued by the Health Care Workers most responsible health care provider and filed in their employment file. See Appendix A COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Exemption Form in the COVID-19 Immunization and Management Policy.

I am a Health Care Worker who has been fully vaccinated, however, my manager/supervisor have received a report stating an incorrect vaccination status. Where and how do I provide my correct vaccination record?

Health Care Workers who have been fully immunized (2 doses + 14 days) can obtain proof of vaccination by visiting COVID-19 Immunization Record. If vaccinated our of province proof of immunization is to be submitted from their respective province's record-keeping process.

The immunization record is to be provided to their site Employee Health Nurse or Wellness and Safety Occupational Health and Safety LPN (confidential email: healthpeiohs@ihis.org).

I am a Health Care Worker and I have privacy concerns regarding the disclosure of vaccination status?

The collection and use of staff vaccine information falls under the rules for personal information in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act.  The Health Information Act, expressly states that it does not apply to information collected pursuant to the Public Health Act, which include immunization information.

Health PEI, as a public body, is permitted under the FOIPP Act to collect, use and disclose personal information for the purposes of managing personnel and also other purposes related to public safety. Therefore, disclosure of COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of job duties (ie. staff scheduling and monitoring staff compliance with the policy) does not pose a privacy concern.

If Health Care Workers are required by the Chief Public Health Office to self-isolate (*specific to scenarios outside of a travel-related restriction), and are asymptomatic, can we use sick time?

Should Health Care Workers who are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) be required to self-isolate, they will be placed on paid administrative leave, this includes casuals who had shifts that were pre-booked.

Some Health Care Workers may have the option/ability to do telework from home. Please discuss this option with your Manager/Supervisor if applicable.

Should a Health Care Worker develop any symptoms of COVID-19, such as fatigue, aches, fever, cough and difficulty breathing, they should visit a no-appointment required testing site or call 1-855-354-4358 for screening to determine whether a test is appropriate. Once symptomatic, paid administrative leave ends and standard sick leave begins as outlined in the respective collective agreement.

If a Health Care Worker tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to continue to self-isolate and follow medical advice. This may extend past the 14-day self-isolation period.

It is important to notify your Manager/Supervisor immediately as to changes in your status.

For detailed information related to specific circumstances, please reach out to your Human Resource Manager.

My child/dependent is symptomatic, required to be tested and is being sent home from school/daycare. Am I required to self-isolate? Am I eligible for leave?

The Health Care Worker is not required to self-isolate and may report to work if another household member is able to self-isolate with the child.  If the child is symptomatic and unable to self-isolate alone (either due to age or ability) while awaiting test results, and no one other than the Health Care Worker can provide for the needs of the child, Health Care Workers may access family illness leave as per their respective collective agreement until the test results are returned or such time as they are able to leave self-isolation as per CPHO.

Health Care Workers are expected to ensure they access testing for the child/dependent as soon as possible.

My child/dependent has been identified by CPHO as a close contact of an active case, is being sent home from school/daycare and is required to be tested. Am I required to self-isolate? Am I eligible for leave?

In circumstances where the child is asymptomatic but required to self-isolate and unable to self-isolate alone (either due to age or ability), paid administrative leave is available to the Health Care Worker for child care purposes.

Health Care Workers are expected to ensure they access testing for the child/dependent as soon as possible.

I am a Health Care Worker in PEI returning from travel within Canada, will I have to isolate and will I be tested?

There is no self-isolation requirement for fully vaccinated PEI resident Health Care Workers returning to PEI from within Canada.  Unvaccinated Health Care Worker's, and those with only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, returning from within Canada will adhere to the following work isolation protocol;

  • Complete a self-declaration
  • Testing for the Health Care Worker will occur at day 0-1, day 4 and day 8
  • Health Care Worker must test negative prior to start of work isolation.

I have arrived in PEI from travel outside of Canada. When will I be tested?

If the Health Care Worker has a federal exemption and are fully vaccinated they do not require work isolation or testing. Unvaccinated Health Care Worker's, and those with only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, returning from travel outside of Canda will adhere to the following protocol;

  • Testing for the Health Care Worker will occur at day 0-1 and day 8 and must self-isolate
  • Health Care Worker arriving to PEI from anywhere outside of Canada are not permitted to work until they finish their 14-day (or 8-day if exempt Federally) period of self-isolation.

I am a Long-Term Care Health Care Worker who arrived in PEI from travel within Canada.  Do I have to self-isolate and will I be tested?

Unvaccinated Long-Term Care Health Care Workers, and those with only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, returning from within Canada will adhere to the following protocol;

  • Testing for the Long-Term Care Health Care Worker will occur at day 0-1 and day 8
  • Long-Term Care Health Care Worker must self-isolate for 8 days after travel within Canada
  • Long-Term Care Health Care Worker's are not eligible for work isolation.

Fully vaccinated Long-Term Care Health Care Worker's returning from within Canada that were out of province for 48+ hours will adhere to the following protocol;

  • Testing for the Long-Term Care Health Care Worker will occur at day 0-1, day 4 and day 8
  • A negative test must be received before entering the facility.

Full vaccinated Long-Term Care Health Care Worker's returning from within Canada that were out of the province for less than 48 hours will adhere to the following protocol;

  • Testing for the Long-Term Care Health Care Worker will occur at day 4 and day 8.

I am a Health Care Worker and have tested positive; I have had 2 doses of the vaccine. When can I return to work?

The Health Care Worker can return to work once they are cleared by CPHO.

I am a close contact of a positive case. How will I be monitored? Will I be tested?

Fully vaccinated Health Care Workers will monitor for symptoms and only self-isolate if they become symptomatic. Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated staff will self-isolate for 14 days with testing.

What do I do if I was at an identified exposure location?

If you were present at an exposure location follow all direction from the Chief Public Health Office in relation to the exposure location(s). You must notify your supervisor or manager.
 

Employee Assistance Program

Services continue to be available via telephone through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Please contact the EAP program if you require additional support. EAP services can be arranged by contacting 902-368-5738 or 1-800-239-3826 or eap@gov.pe.ca



As a reminder, you must report any suspect cases of COVID-19 to the Chief Public Health Office as soon as observed. The PEI COVID-19 Guideline is an evergreen document and will be revised to reflect updates in recommendations. Health care providers can contact the Chief Public Health Office at 902-368-4996, if you have any questions.
 

Published date: 
September 24, 2021
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