March 16, 2020
We’re all facing an unprecedented public-health situation with an outbreak of COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared this outbreak a global pandemic. A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.
The Government of New Brunswick (GNB) Department of Public Health and NB Power are closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation, and updated information and guidance will be provided to you as it becomes available.
One thing that we already know is that COVID-19 is a serious disease that can have significant medical consequences, especially for older individuals, or people with pre-existing health conditions. This means taking all appropriate measures to slow down the spread of this disease must be our priority in order to prevent overwhelming New Brunswick’s healthcare system.
Over 90% of IBEW Local 37 members are employed at NB Power, working to produce and deliver electricity to New Brunswickers. Because electricity is a vital essential service, it is also possible that there may be special measures required to ensure the production and delivery of electrical service is uninterrupted within New Brunswick. As the provincial response to this pandemic evolves, IBEW Local 37 will be in daily communication with the senior leadership team at NB Power, and we will work closely with them to protect the physical and financial health of our members, while also ensuring that we continue to provide our vital essential services. We will be reassessing and evaluating the situation continuously and issuing regular communication updates.
IBEW Local 37 also has members employed with Rogers TV that are working to provide important communication support and services to businesses and communities, as well as members who work with outside line construction contractors supporting NB Power in the safe delivery of electricity to its customers. We will be keeping in contact with their employers as well to ensure we continue to monitor this ever-evolving, unprecedented situation.
In addition, the Executive Board of Local 37 is supporting the following actions:
- All non-essential IBEW Local 37 member gatherings, including monthly Unit meetings, will be postponed; and,
- The IBEW Local 37 office will be closed to the public and members effective immediately. Local 37 staff will be encouraged to work from home as much as their schedules and responsibilities permit. The office telephone will continue to be answered during normal working hours (455-0037 / 1-877-437-0037), and you can continue to reach us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be clear, no Local 37 staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19, this is a preventative measure to try and slow down the spread of this disease, and to protect the health of our staff, our members, and their families. We will continue to monitor the situation and will reassess as the situation evolves.
In addition to these measures, all other IBEW 37 meetings, events, and other activities will be postponed or adjourned. Alternative measures for meetings such as conference calls, video conferencing, group texts and e-mails will be put in place so the business of Local 37 can continue, and to ensure we can deliver information to our members in a timely manner.
The staff and officers of IBEW Local 37 are dedicated, experienced and professional. We remain committed to continuing our support of our members, and will be available via email and telephone. All mailboxes will be monitored regularly. Our objective is to limit all non-essential travel and exposure to reduce the spread of this virus.
Everyone has their part to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19. While this decision will inconvenience some of our members, the Executive Board is in agreement that this is the best course of action at this time.
We encourage everyone to consider the following to help slow down the spread of COVID-19:
- Listen to experts. There are many rumours and a lot of misleading information online. The best information comes only from experts including New Brunswick’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Health Canada, the World Health Organization and your physician
- Continue to take all necessary precautions even if you are in a low-risk group. These precautions (which can be found from the sources listed above and in the information below) are not just to avoid getting infected or spreading COVID-19, but to avoid over-burdening our healthcare system during this situation.
I appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this unprecedented situation. IBEW Local 37 stands with all of our members, and we appreciate everything you do to help your fellow New Brunswickers, especially in this time of uncertainty.
Business Manager, IBEW Local 37
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends the following advice to help reduce the risk of infection or spreading the infection to others:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- stay home if you are sick;
- when coughing or sneezing: cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues to reduce the spread of germs;
- immediately dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards; and,
- avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick.
The following steps will help to reduce contact with others:
- stay home when possible (self-isolate);
- avoid individuals with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults;
- avoid having visitors to your home;
- wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds; and,
- cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing and sneezing.
The Government of Canada advises to immediately avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
- All travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel outside of Canada.