If you have workplace safety or health questions or concerns, contact MNOSHA Compliance at 651-284-5050 or email@example.com. More MNOSHA resources are available here: https://dli.mn.gov/business/workplace-safety-and-health/mnosha-compliance-novel-coronavirus-covid-19
The spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 is a fast-changing and developing situation. Because there is still much we don’t know about the virus, hospitals and healthcare employers have a duty to protect patients and staff, determined by the precautionary principle, which “states that we should not wait until we know for sure that something is harmful before we take action to protect people’s health.”
In addition, hospitals should take an all-hazards approach to preparation rather than scrambling to react. An all-hazards approach considers the possibility of loss of utilities, mass influx of patients from a disaster, epidemic, or pandemic, among other emergent situations.
MNA has advocated for the protection of healthcare workers in the recent past when the threat of infectious disease has made it necessary to enact plans to respond to specific threats. These have included SARS, MeRs, H1N1, EVD, and now, COVID-19.
We have requested information from all of our represented healthcare facilities regarding COVID-19 preparedness and response. Member leaders and staff will discuss what needs to happen at their facility. This could include: bargaining, meeting in labor-management committees, health and safety committees, infection control committees, nursing practice and care delivery committees.
We are participating in weekly calls with the Minnesota Department of Health regarding COVID-19. These calls include nursing homes, health care coalitions, regional public health departments, tribal health services, emergency medical services, counties and schools in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin as well as representatives from hospitals and health systems.
MNA has encouraged state legislative leaders and committees to pass legislation like SF 3813, which would appropriate millions of dollars to the public health response contingency account in order to respond to an outbreak of the virus as quickly and completely as possible.
For reliable, up-to-date information, please consult these resources:
World Health Organization (WHO)’s Situation Reports at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s webpage on the novel coronavirus at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
Minnesota Department of Health Situation Update for Coronavirus Disease 2019: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html
Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm
Iowa Department of Public Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus
North Dakota Department of Health Coronavirus: https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus
National Nurses United COVID-19: What Nurses Need to Know: https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/2019-nCoV
 From CMS: All-Hazards Approach: An all-hazards approach is an integrated approach to emergency preparedness planning that focuses on capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters, including internal emergencies and a man-made emergency (or both) or natural disaster. This approach is specific to the location of the provider or supplier and considers the particular type of hazards most likely to occur in their areas. These may include, but are not limited to, care-related emergencies, equipment and power failures, interruptions in communications, including cyber-attacks, loss of a portion or all of a facility, and interruptions in the normal supply of essentials such as water and food. Rather than managing planning initiatives for a multitude of threat scenarios, all-hazards planning focuses on developing capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters. Thus, all-hazards planning does not specifically address every possible threat but ensures those hospitals and all other providers and suppliers will have the capacity to address a broad range of related emergencies.