RISK REDUCTION 

 

Personal Protective Equipment (Covid-19)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) are items worn to provide a barrier to help prevent potential exposure to infectious disease. These items include:

  • gloves

  • gowns

  • surgical masks

    • surgical masks with visor attachment

  • respirators

  • face shields

  • eye protection

    • goggles

Personal protective equipment sold for medical purposes are classified as medical devices in Canada. Under the Medical Devices Regulations, medical masks, N95 respiratorsmedical gownsface shields and medical goggles are Class I medical devices. Medical gloves are Class II medical devices.

Expedited access

There is an unprecedented demand and urgent need for products to help limit the spread of COVID-19. As a temporary measure, Health Canada is speeding up the authorization processes for personal protective equipment.

Who can sell personal protective equipment

With some exceptions, authorization by Health Canada is required before medical devices can be imported and sold in Canada.

There are different medical device authorizations depending on the role of the company (manufacturer, importer or distributor) and the class of medical device:

  • A medical device licence authorizes a manufacturer to import or sell their Class II, III or IV medical devices.

  • An interim order authorization allows a manufacturer to import or sell a medical device (Classes I to IV) for COVID-19.

  • A Medical Device Establishment Licence (MDEL) authorizes:

    • a manufacturer to import and sell Class I medical devices

    • importers and distributors to import or sell Class I to IV medical devices.

To obtain Health Canada authorization to import or sell PPE, see the section on how to get authorization.

Authorized medical devices and licence holders are listed in one of the following lists or databases:

As well as these medical device databases, additional authorization lists related to COVID-19 medical devices have been created. This is a result of new mechanisms put in place for expedited access to COVID-19 medical devices:

Health Canada is also allowing certain medical devices that may not fully meet Canadian regulatory requirements but are manufactured to comparable standards to be imported and sold. This is being done through an exceptional import and sale interim order:

 

Prioritizing Education

"Keeping schools closed comes with massive, long-term individual and societal costs. Many children cannot effectively learn, grow, engage, socialize, be active, eat healthy food, or get support until schools reopen. With schools closed, disparities are widening across racial and ethnic groups, between women and men, and across income levels. Many parents and caregivers cannot fully go back to work until children go back to school.

Children are at much lower risk from COVID-19 than adults and a growing body of scientific evidence shows that kids and adults can be kept safe in any indoor environment, including schools, if appropriate risk reduction measures are implemented. With this as the backdrop, we set out to answer this question: what strategies should schools consider to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission?

However, scientific evidence indicates that risks to students and staff can be kept low if schools adhere to strict control measures and dynamically respond to potential outbreaks.

We recognize there are immense challenges. There is no perfect plan to reopen schools safely, only ‘less bad’ options. There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy that works for every school. Schools have limited budgets and staff. Compliance may be imperfect. Learning will be different. There will be disruption. Schools may need to change course unexpectedly depending on local conditions.

Despite these challenges, the enormous individual and societal costs of keeping schools closed compels us, a team focused on Healthy Buildings and exposure and risk science, to present a range of control strategies that should be considered in discussions of school reopenings:"

HEALTHY CLASSROOMS

 Following safe practices in classrooms.

  • Wear masks

  • Wash hands frequently

  • Maximize physical distancing to protect individuals

  • Maximize group distancing to slow transmission chains

  • Limit sharing of objects 

HEALTHY BUILDINGS

 Breathing clean air in the school building.

  • Increase outdoor air ventilation

  • Filter indoor air

  • Supplement with portable air cleaners

  • Verify ventilation and filtration performance

  • Consider advanced air quality techniques

  • Use plexiglass as physical barrier

  • Install no-contact infrastructure

  • Keep surfaces clean

  • Focus on bathroom hygiene

HEALTHY POLICIES

 Building a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility.

  • Establish and reinforce a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility

  • Form a COVID-19 response team and plan

  • Prioritize staying home when sick

  • Promote viral testing

  • Establish plans for when there is a case

  • Support remote learning options

  • De-densify school buildings

  • Protect high-risk students and staff

 

HEALTHY SCHEDULES

  •  Moving between rooms and locations safely.

  • Manage transition times and locations

  • Make lunchtime safer

  • Rethink transportation

  • Modify attendance

HEALTHY ACTIVITIES

Enjoying modified activities.

  • Provide recess

  • Modify physical education

  • Reimagine music and theater classes

  • Continue sports with enhanced controls

  • Add structure to free time

 

These strategies work together as part of a holistic, multi-layered plan to reduce exposure to and limit transmission of COVID-19 in schools. Schools should adopt and adapt these recommendations to best fit their unique situation, depending on available personnel, resources, finances, school demographics, and building attributes. In addition, schools should frequently revisit their approach as the COVID-19 situation changes over time in each community.

 

Considerations for Restaurant and Bar Operators

As restaurants and bars resume and continue operations in some areas of the United States, CDC offers the following considerations for ways in which operators can reduce risk for employees, customers, and communities and slow the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars can determine, in collaboration with state, local, territorial, or tribal health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which businesses must comply.

Guiding Principles to Keep in Mind

The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Masks may reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread when they are consistently used by customers and employees, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in a restaurant or bar setting as interactions within 6 feet of others increase, as described below. Masks may reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread when worn in any of these risk scenarios.

  • Lowest Risk: Food service limited to drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick up.

  • More Risk: Drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick up emphasized. On-site dining limited to outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

  • Higher Risk: On-site dining with indoor seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart. And/or on-site dining with outdoor seating, but tables not spaced at least six feet apart.

  • Highest Risk: On-site dining with indoor seating. Seating capacity not reduced and tables not spaced at least 6 feet apart.

 

COVID-19 is mostly spread when people are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person. When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe, they produce respiratory droplets. Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. This is called airborne transmission. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission.

Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.

Fortunately, there are a number of actions operators of restaurants and bars can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread. Personal prevention practices (such as handwashingstaying home when sick, and wearing masks) and workplace prevention practices, like environmental cleaning and disinfection, are important principles of preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread

  • Staying Home when Appropriate

  • Masks

  • Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Adequate Supplies

  • Signs and Messages

Maintaining Healthy Environments

  • Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Managing Shared Objects

  • Ventilation

  • Water Systems

  • Modified Layouts and Procedures

  • Physical Barriers and Guides

  • Communal Spaces

 

Maintaining Healthy Operations

  • Protections for Employees at Higher Risk for Severe Illness from COVID-1

  • Regulatory Awareness

  • Staggered or Rotated Shifts and Sittings

  • Avoiding Gatherings

  • Travel and Transit

  • Designated COVID-19 Point of Contact

  • Communication Systems

  • Leave (Time Off) Policies

  • Back-Up Staffing Plan

  • Staff Training

  • Recognize Signs and Symptoms

  • Support Coping and Resilience 

Preparing for Sick Employees

  • Advise Sick Employees of Home Isolation Criteria

  • Isolate and Transport Those Who Are Sick

  • Clean and Disinfect

  • Notify Health Officials and Close Contacts

Sources

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