COVID-19 Update for April 13, 2020 – 2:00pm

Federal Government Update

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not provide a daily briefing today, but two of his cabinet ministers announced updated programs, including new long-term care guidelines, a new COVID-19 testing device and aid for the agriculture sector.

Long-Term Care

Federal Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte released the government’s updated guidelines for long-term care homes. Even though these facilities fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the new recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada will help ensure consistent guidance across Canada.

The guidelines were drafted in consultation with the provinces and territories, and based on the experience in other countries. Among the key recommendations:

  • Restricting visitors and volunteers;
  • Screenings before shift for staff and before any essential visitor enters;
  • Prohibiting staff with symptoms from coming to work;
  • Mandating masks and other personal protective equipment;
  • Limiting employees to working in a single facility;
  • Cancelling any non-essential outings; and
  • Maintaining physical distance during meals.

You can find the complete list of recommendations here.

Spartan Test Kit Approval

Health Canada has approved a new rapid test for the coronavirus by Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience. The test can show results in less than an hour and uses a portable hand-held device, which means there is no need to send samples to a lab. The government will prioritize distribution of these tests for remote areas that have less access to more centralized laboratories – specifically northern and Indigenous communities.

Ontario has ordered nearly one million testing kits, while Alberta’s contract is for 100,000 kits.Health Canada greenlit the device on Saturday and Spartan says it will begin shipments “immediately.”

Spartan says the test can be operated by non-laboratory personnel in a variety of locales such as airports, border crossings, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics.

$50 million for Farmers and Food Processors

Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced a $50 million program to help farmers and food processors implement measures to manage the mandatory 14-day quarantine required for all temporary foreign workers arriving from abroad.

This program will help employers cover the costs of accommodations and other costs associated with the waiting period. In addition, the federal government is offering a $1,500 subsidy to employers for each temporary foreign worker to further help cover these costs.

Each year nearly 60,000 temporary foreign workers come to work in Canada’s food production supply chain. Minister Bibeau reiterated that all workers coming from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days and employers or workers that do not comply will face severe sanctions.

We hope you are finding these COVID-19 updates useful. In addition to trying to keep on top of the fast-changing situation, Enterprise is also working to support local charities during these challenging times. If you are able, your contributions to this
effort would be deeply appreciated.

To donate, please click on the link.

Many thanks.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

The Enterprise Team

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