March 11, 2020
As Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in US and across the globe, HMR is committed to helping our employees stay safe and healthy. It is important to stay calm but vigilant and know how to protect yourself during this outbreak. We have assembled best practices for you to follow, as recommended by CDC and OSHA. We will continue to monitor and share new recommendations with you.
Protecting Yourself and the Team:
- CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
- If employee on your team came into the office sick and was sent home, call Human Resources immediately: 617-471-7676 or 413-824-9967 or 413-626-1818.
- Employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
- Avoid handshake during the outbreak and use other alternative greetings e.g. just say hello, wave, air high five across the room.
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Perform routine cleaning of work areas
- Establish physical distance of 6 feet or more
- Review your resident event calendar with your supervisor to determine which events should be canceled or postponed.
- Review your work orders to determine which non-essential work in units can be postponed.
- Emergency work in units includes, but is not
- Water loss
- Fire loss
- Water leak of any kind
- Clogged toilet and sink
- Electrical hazard
- Range/Fridge not working
- Gas odor
- No heat, no AC
- No power
- No water
- No gas
- Lighting failure (depends on location)
- Damaged railings/grab bars
- Trip hazards
- Smoke/CO2 alarm
- Broken window
- Lockouts or broken doors
- Personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves should be used by staff when working in apartments or cleaning common areas. Wash your hands with gloves on with disinfectant prior to removing. The gloves should then be discarded after each use (such as after cleaning).
- Cancel all scheduled unit inspections until
further notice. There is no need to announce this directive to residents. We
will resume inspections when it is safe to do so. These inspections are:
- Annual Inspections
- Housekeeping Inspections
- REAC Inspections
- 30-day Follow ups
- HMR is currently reaching out to the Agencies on how to deal with 3rd Party and Agency Inspection, including MORs, 3rd Party Housing Authority Inspections.
- Inspections that can continue:
- Pre-Move In inspection
- Move-in Inspection (offer gloves to resident)
- Please discuss any travel between sites with your supervisors.
- Contact all vendors who are expected to work at your site and emphasize that no one exhibiting flu-like symptoms will be permitted to work on the property.
Responding to Resident Illness:
- Encourage residents to report acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) to management and encourage them to contact their doctor (by phone).
- Site staff to report any resident illness or staff illness through coronavirustaskforce.com or call Human Resources: 617-471-7676 or 413-824- 9967 or 413-626-1818.
- Notify residents of the same building to take heightened precautions because a case has been identified within the building. However, it is illegal to reveal the identity of the person.
- The building will need to be disinfected, particularly, their doorknob, door casing, the path to the unit, including other common areas.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- COVID-19 is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales, by touching objects or surfaces with these droplets and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- We cannot stress enough the importance of respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees. At this time, the CDC is NOT recommending use of surgical masks or respirators by the general public, except as recommended by a healthcare professional or by persons infected with COVID-19 or caring for someone who is infected or suspected to be infected. Employees should use the mask if they feel it is necessary for their own protection.
- All offices and maintenance shops should have supplies of soap and alcohol-based hand rubs available for everyone’s use. If available, place hand sanitizer in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
- HMR corporate team ordered disinfectants and hand sanitizers for worksites.
- All staff are encouraged to wear gloves and change them after each contact with people or surfaces. Before removing the gloves, wash your hands with the gloves on using disinfectant.
Exposure and Paid Time Off:
- Employees should notify their supervisor and Human Resources immediately if they have been exposed to or diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) or if they have acute respiratory or flu-like symptoms. We will remain flexible during the pandemic.
- Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). We recommend that you also contact your healthcare provider. Your doctor can determine if your signs and symptoms are explained by other causes, of if there is a reason to suspect you may have COVID-19.
- Employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
- We will maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. If you are caring for a family member who has been diagnosed, please work with your supervisor to enter your time off appropriately in UltiPro.
- If schools are closed due to a quarantine and alternative childcare options are not available to you, please speak with your supervisor about possibility of either working from home or adjusting work schedule temporarily.
- If you choose to travel out of the country or to places where there is a concentration of the virus, you need to contact Human Resources immediately to plan for your return to work. The CDC is advising that people are quarantined for 14 days after potential exposure.