COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Westonka Animal Hospital and Lake Minnetonka Pet Wellness Center
Westonka Animal Hospital and Lake Minnetonka Pet Wellness Center are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our workers and customers. The leadership team and employees are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and communities, and that requires full cooperation among our employees, leadership, and clients. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our workplaces.
Leadership and employees are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Westonka Animal Hospital and Lake Minnetonka Pet Wellness Center’s Leadership Teamhas full support in enforcing the provisions of this policy.
As we learn more about the COVID-19 virus and governmental requirements/guidelines change, it is expected that this plan will also evolve. The leadership team meets weekly to discuss business related activities. Each week leadership discusses the team’s effectiveness of COVID-19 policies and makes adjustments as necessary. This policy will be updated and redistributed to employees as needed. These changes will also be highlighted during the weekly mandatory team meetings.
Our employees are our most important assets. We are serious about safety and health and keeping our employees working at Westonka Animal Hospital and Lake Minnetonka Pet Wellness Center. Employee involvement is essential in developing and implementing a successful COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We have involved our employees in this process through weekly team meetings conducted every Wednesday from 12 pm to 1:30 pm. Westonka Animal Hospital and Lake Minnetonka Pet Wellness center has encouraged feedback throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic. Feedback is welcome by all employees either through verbal communication or written communication. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19, and addresses:
- hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- engineering and administrative controls for social distancing;
- customer controls and protections for drop-off, pick-up and delivery;
- housekeeping, including cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination;
- prompt identification and isolation of sick persons;
- procedures related to scheduling elective surgeries and procedures
- communications and training that will be provided to managers and workers; and
- management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan
Screening and policies for employees exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19
Effective 6/7/21 employees are no longer required to complete a health check form upon entry to the building. As with any contagious disease, we encourage employees to remain at home if they have symptoms of illness that may be contagious to other team members. However, quarantine for symptoms will no longer be required. In the event that an employee or client is diagnosed with COVID-19, the exposed employee’s are required to adhere to any requirements made by governing regulatory bodies, such as the Minnesota Department of Health, if such entities become involved.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Effective 6/7/21 masks and face shields/plexi glass barriers are no longer required for employees or clients. We are not making it mandatory that employees or clients do not wear a mask. If an employee or client wishes to wear a mask, they may. Through the month of June, if a client requests that staff wear masks while present in the examination room, we request that all employees comply. Employees are encouraged to keep a mask present in the building in case a situation arises and they are asked to put the mask on.
It is recommended, but not required, that employees who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 stay 6 feet away from other employees and clients whenever possible and continue to wear a face mask.
The NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls should be applied to control exposure to occupational hazards. From most effective, to least effective, the hierarchy is as follows (along with specific COVID-19 examples):
- Elimination – physically remove the hazard. Since we are unable to eradicate the virus, we must instead look at ways to eliminate transmission of the virus. (example: telemedicine visits – client and patient do not visit clinic, email paperwork to clients rather than printing and having them pick up the paperwork, etc)
- Substitution – replace the hazard. Replace a high-risk hazard with a lower risk hazard. (example: our use of pet exchange and Petpro connect to perform in clinic exam instead of our traditional in person exam)
- Engineering Controls – Isolate people from the hazard (allow work from home, when able, to minimize employee exposures)
- Administrative Controls – change the way people work (examples: incorporate social distancing with all employees whenever possible)
- PPE – protect the worker with Personal Protective Equipment (examples: face masks, lab coats, gloves, plexi-glass, etc)
Handwashing and Hygiene
Basic hygiene is required within our facility at all times and not just during a pandemic. Basic Workers are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of their shift, after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing, prior to any mealtimes and after using the toilet. All employees should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
All employees are to familiarize themselves with the information in the links listed in “handwashing” within Appendix A.
Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your cough or sneeze
Workers and visitors are being instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. Everyone must dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward sneezing, coughing, blowing nose, etc. Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available to all workers and visitors.
All employees are to familiarize themselves with the information in the links listed in “Respiratory Etiquette” within Appendix A.
As of 6/7/21 employees are no longer required to maintain 6 feet distance between other employees or clients. However, any employee that is not vaccinated is encouraged to continue to follow this guideline whenever possible to continue to slow the spread of this disease.
Appointments and Drop Offs
As of 6/7/21 the front doors of Westonka Animal Hospital and Lake Minnetonka Animal Hospital will be unlocked during regular business hours. Clients are no longer required to call to check in for their appointment, they may simply come inside and check in at the front desk. Curbside will still remain option, through the month of June, for clients that request this service for appointments and/or prescription/food pickup. However, our default examination will now be in person.
Communications and training
This Preparedness Plan was communicated via email and posted within both locations on 5/26/21. Specific training in regards to these policies were discussed at our team meeting on 5/26/21. This policies effective date is 6/7/21. Weekly discussion and training on new protocols related to COVID-19 pandemic occur during weekly team meetings on Wednesdays. All employees are required to be present for these meetings. If anyone is sick or absent, for extenuating reasons, they will receive an email with notes of the meeting. Additional communication and training will be ongoing during the weekly team meetings and provided to all workers who did not receive the initial training. The leadership team meets every Monday and reviews relevant information and training with team members at the weekly team meeting.
Appendix A – Guidance for developing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV
MDH Coronavirus – www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus
State of Minnesota COVID-19 response – https://mn.gov/covid19/
CDC Resources for businesses and employers – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
CDC General business frequently asked questions – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html
MDH Businesses and employers: COVID-19 – www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/businesses.html
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) COVID-19 information and resources – https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/
DLI Updates related to COVID-19 – www.dli.mn.gov/updates
Federal OSHA – www.osha.gov