FAQ: Wellness screening
Why are employees entering the workplace subjected to different screening criteria than donors seeking to donate?
Wellness checkpoint screening at entry to our sites is used for employees, volunteers, contractors and donors to ensure individuals are healthy when they come into our facilities. The wellness checkpoint questions at each site will look different, depending on that province’s wellness screening requirements and travel guidance. Donor screening (as part of the usual donation screening process) is about the individual’s eligibility to donate blood and there are currently donor eligibility criteria for travel that are specific to COVID-19 as outlined in the DSCM. The wellness checkpoint questions and the donor eligibility screening criteria are different and one set of questions does not replace the other.
There will not be any changes to donation eligibility criteria in the DSCM at this time as per the recommendation of our COVID-19 Program Medical Surveillance and Issues Working Group. The wellness questions are one level of screening and these won’t align with the donor eligibility screening questions, therefore sometimes a donor may be deferred.
How are employees being screened in donor centres?
It is important for our employees who are working on the front line to know that Canadian Blood Services is being proactive to mitigate the risk to both employees and donors. We have implemented the wellness checkpoint screening process at sites nationally to include screening of all employees, contractors, donors, visitors and volunteers as a requirement for entry to any site. In addition, a number of provisions are in effect to ensure that the employees working in our donor centres are healthy.
Employees are being asked to monitor their symptoms. Any employee who is sick, including but not limited to those who develop flu-like symptoms, is instructed to stay away from the workplace.
Employees with COVID-19 symptoms are being asked to contact their physician and public health agency for direction on whether it is safe to come into work.
Any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 would not return to work until they are fully recovered and cleared to do so by public health and/or their physician and in consultation with EHS.
Any employee who is sick will be paid at their regular rate of pay for hours that would otherwise be worked, even if they would normally not have paid sick leave, or have paid sick leave that is less than their regular rate of pay.
Employees do not need to provide medical documentation to their managers.
We ask that employees refer to, and follow, any provincial requirements for travel. If an employee is required to self-isolate upon return, they are not to return to work until it is deemed safe by their public health authority.
What changes have been implemented to streamline the wellness checkpoint process for employees?
- Change in Access points: At some sites, employees may be re-directed to the main entrance in order to complete the wellness checkpoint.
- Designated entrances: Employees must enter the building as directed to complete the wellness checkpoint. General access from other entrances such a side or back doors, is not prohibited. At sites where there are secondary entrances that are essential to our operations, use will be restricted to essential only.
- Sites without reception or security guards: If you are the first to enter a building or the only individual on-site, you must complete self-screen at the wellness checkpoint
I have a cough due to a pre-existing condition. I am concerned that if I answer “yes” to having a cough at the wellness checkpoint that I will not be permitted to enter the building even through it isn’t related to COVID-19. What should I do?
Some employees may have COVID-like symptoms that are caused by another medical issue such as allergies or asthma. A declaration from their physician will need to be provided to Employee Health Services in order for a letter to be issued advising that they are safe to report to work and can pass through the wellness checkpoint. Employees should bring the letter with them each time they report to work and may be required to wear a mask during their shift. For more information, please speak with your supervisor.
If an employee cannot obtain a letter from their Doctor because of a variety of reasons, we ask that they stay home until they are able to do so. To avoid unnecessary trips outside of the home, we understand that health care providers may be able to email EHS with the letter.
Why was a decision made to implement the wellness check questionnaire via a poster before approaching the wellness check station?
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness checkpoints were one of the many measures implemented to keep our teams and donors safe and protect our essential operations.
These measures are being consistently reviewed to ensure we can continue to safely deliver on our promise to patients and improve the donor and employee experience.
On September 21, 2020, the following change was rolled-out regarding the facilitation of the wellness checks at both donor and employee wellness checkpoints:
Employees working at the wellness checkpoints will no longer be required to read the wellness-check questionnaire to each individual entering our sites.
Instead, before entering our sites, individuals will be asked to read the questionnaire on a large poster prior to approaching the wellness checkpoint.
If the individual answers “YES” to any of the questions, they will be advised that they are unable to enter our sites and will be encouraged to return when they can answer “NO” to all of the questions.
If the individual answers “NO” to all of the questions, they will be permitted to enter our sites for further screening.
As information on the virus continues to evolve, we are constantly looking at ways to safely improve efficiencies as well as the donor and employee experience. We anticipate that this change will contribute to the following:
Maintain safety by reducing donor/employee contact with individuals who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms
Improve donor experience by allowing donors to self-postpone their donation in advance of entering our sites.
Improve employee experience by simplifying the process and reducing the repetitive nature of the questions at the wellness checkpoint.
Provide a consistent approach for both employees and donors.
Will a donor be deferred for a specific period of time if they answer “YES” to any of the wellness check questions?
No. The wellness check supports our efforts to make sure those who enter Canadian Blood Services’ sites are healthy, but they should not be mistaken for donor eligibility requirements.
The wellness check is intended to help limit the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our facilities by making sure that individuals are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms before they enter.
Health symptoms listed in the wellness check can change day-to-day. For this reason, donors and employees may return as early as the next day to retake the questionnaire if they are feeling healthy.
Donors and employees are reminded that if they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, they should remain home and consider not coming to a Canadian Blood Services site until they are feeling healthy. This is to protect the safety of our teams, donors, and our essential operations.
How are we supporting those who are visually impaired to read the wellness check questionnaire poster?
To provide support, our teams will always work hard to accommodate donors who are visually impaired by taking the time to read through the questionnaire.
Who should I contact if I have questions/concerns?
FAQ: Employee temperature checks
Why are we removing the temperature taking process from the Wellness Checkpoint?
The organization continues to navigate the COVID-19 landscape, and as always, we constantly review, analyze and revise as necessary, our COVID-19 protocols and safety measures. Our priority has always been to protect the health and wellness of our employees, volunteers and donors using evidence-based data and information.
Assessment of the infrared thermometer demonstrated that ambient temperature affected the accuracy of the temperature readings. The affect was more pronounced at cold temperatures with the device taking between 10 and 20 minutes to stabilize to get an accurate reading (and at extreme cold temperatures the device will not even read a temperature). This may negatively impact operations, as well as donor experience.
In consideration of the operations assessment and as part the COVID-19 protocol and safety measure review process, the COVID-19 Program requested that the Surveillance and Medical Issues (SMI) working group review the positives and negatives of taking temperatures for wellness screening. They found that the screening questions at the wellness checkpoint provide the strongest level of screening and there is no evidence that temperature checks provide incremental benefit over the current wellness check point screening questions. In addition, temperature checks, as a part of COVID-19 wellness screening, are not required in any province and are not required by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
We don’t require donors to be vaccinated – isn't this change increasing risk of exposure?
We recognize there is some perceived risk in removing temperature taking from the wellness checkpoints. We are also aware that a vaccination policy for donors would alleviate these concerns. We are confident that removing this measure at this time will not have a negative impact on the health and safety of employees. We have a fully vaccinated workforce, as well as vaccination requirements for volunteers, contractors and visitors. We are continuing to do the necessary work and assessments to inform a decision on a vaccination policy for donors. This work is ongoing and until that decision is made, we are reassured that our stringent COVID-19 measures such as PPE, enhanced cleaning, barriers and physical distancing have been and will continue to safeguard employees, volunteers, donors and contractors in our environments.
Can we move Carescape back to the wellness checkpoint?
The use of the Carescape thermometer will remain in the donor screening area.
It was determined that the screening questions at the wellness checkpoint provide the strongest level of screening and there is no evidence that temperature checks provide incremental benefit over the current wellness check point screening questions.
Donor temperature oral temperature taking will still be required and will be done at the time of donor eligibility screening in the private screening rooms, where there is an acrylic barrier between the donor and employee. Taking the donor’s oral temperature is the last screening step in our thorough wellness check and medical screening process.
I don’t feel comfortable with donors taking their mask off in the enclosed screening room, even after passing the wellness check.
Health Canada requires that all donor temperatures are recorded to ensure the blood donated is safe for transfusion, therefore oral temperature will be taken inside the private screening room. We have taken measures to ensure donors and employees are safe in the private screening rooms, such as installed acrylic barriers and the requirement for employees to wear masks.