In a recent news release in Massachusetts, 15 staff members were diagnosed positive with COVID-19 in an outbreak that may have originated in a hospital break room. It is believed that the staff members had been eating together in the break room when the infection was spread. This isn’t a new phenomenon; there was a similar outbreak in July where 23 employees and 13 patients tested positive for COVID-19, at least in part due to the lack of social distancing and wearing of masks in a break room. The spokesperson for this hospital was interviewed and said “the hospital is putting new rules in place to ensure something like this does not happen again.”
We can’t put ourselves, our staff and our residents at risk due to an oversight on how we prepare to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This virus is real and it does kill people. If you have a break room, elevator, restroom, etc. where more than one or two people would likely congregate, just say no. It is our responsibility to post the expectation, for example, no more than 2 people in the breakroom at one time, social distanced and both must be masked, etc. The CDC has some great guidance on how to manage the workplace to prevent the spread of infection.
Don’t be a statistic, be a champion, and remember our staff are heroes and need protection as well. A simple lunch break shouldn’t be increasing the risk of spreading the virus. Pay attention, manage the process, post signs and then monitor that staff are compliant! The goal is to stay well, keep our residents and staff safe and to that end, do our job the best we can! Don’t forget to check the CDC website and HealthCap’s Risk Management resources for more information on workplace safety and guidelines.
Please stay the course, stay strong, stay well, stay safe, mask up, stay tuned!