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CCG/6102 National Standard Operating Procedure (NSOP)
507 COVID-19 - Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks On Board Vessels

Original: 2020-03-20 Revised: 2021-04-18 Approved by Marc Sanderson, Director General, Coast Guard Personnel on April 18th, 2021.

Purpose

The purpose of this national standard operating procedure (NSOP) is to outline the steps to be followed in the event that there are multiple suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessels.

Procedure

All personal information collected is to be managed according to Protected B protocols.

Procedure for identifying affected personnel on board CCG vessels
Step Procedure
1.
  1. Is the employee experiencing a sudden onset of any of the following symptoms, which may be attributed to COVID-19 rather than for example, seasonal allergies or a known medical conditionFootnote1:
    • fever (37.5 °C and above) alone or in combination with either of the following:
    • new or worsening cough
    • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • temperature equal to or over 37.5 C
    • feeling feverish
    • chills
    • fatigue or weakness
    • muscle or body aches
    • new loss of smell or taste
    • headache (new, persistent, unexplained, unusual or long-lasting, not related to other known causes or conditions)
    • gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
    • feeling very unwell
  2. And/or if the employee meets any of the following exposure criteria:
    1. 2.1. has returned from travel outside of Canada in the last 14 days
    2. 2.2. has had close contact with a person who has returned from outside Canada in the last 14 days and who is symptomatic for COVID-19
    3. 2.3. has had close contact with a suspected, confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
2.
  1. An employee who is considered exposed to, or suspected to have COVID-19 must immediately be given a procedural or surgical mask to protect others around them. The employee must be confined to their cabin or sent home where applicable.
  2. While at sea, an employee suspected to have COVID-19 must remain in their cabin to protect others. A supervisor or the bridge must be advised that they have developed symptoms and need to be evaluated.
  3. Unless in critical condition (respiratory distress), do not bring an employee who is suspected to have COVID-19 to the vessel's clinic.
  4. The person in charge of assessing the employee who is suspected to have COVID-19 should do a subjective assessment (by phone or without close contact).
  5. If necessary, the employee who is suspected to have COVID-19 can be seen in their cabin to avoid cross contamination of people and other spaces in the vessel (whenever possible and safe).
  6. If the employee who is suspected to have COVID-19 remains on the vessel, they must have bathroom access, but are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (procedural or surgical mask and gloves) when going to/from the bathroom. Ideally, this bathroom should not be shared with other employees.
  7. If the employee who is suspected to have COVID-19 is required to share a bathroom, it must be disinfected after each use. The best practice is to put the toilet lid down before flushing.
  8. When alone in an isolation room, the employee who is suspected to have COVID-19 may remove their mask.
  9. Contact with others on board the vessel must be limited.
  10. If the symptomatic employee remains on the vessel, they must have bathroom access, but are required to wear appropriate PPE, including a procedure or surgical mask and gloves when going to/from the bathroom.
  11. Required PPE for a designated person entering a room for physical examination of a patient with COVID-19 symptoms include:
    1. 11.1. a medical mask (procedural or surgical mask)
    2. 11.2. long sleeved-protective gown or disposable coverall (for example, Tyvek)Footnote 2
    3. 11.3. gloves
    4. 11.4. eye protection

Note:

N95 masks are required when providing direct care to COVID-19 patients in settings where aerosol-generating procedures are frequently in place. Aerosol-generating procedures are: tracheal intubation, non-invasive ventilation, tracheotomy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, manual ventilation before intubation, bronchoscopy.Footnote 3

3.
  1. The onboard rescue specialist or the marine first responder is to contact the local telemedical assistance services (TMAS) for advice on assessment, quarantine and testing.
  2. Local public health authorities must be also be consulted in order to ensure a continuation care for the employee and to mitigate the spread in the community.
  3. Should the rescue specialist or marine first responder require close contact with an employee who is suspected to have COVID-19, they must follow NSOP 502 COVID-19 - Instructions for Rescue Specialist in Assisting a Suspected COVID-19 Patient.
Procedure for managing suspected COVID-19 employee contacts
Step Procedure
1.
  1. In order to avoid delays in implementing health measures, contact tracing should begin immediately after a suspected case (or cases) has been identified on board without waiting for laboratory results. Every effort should be made to minimize the exposure of other crew members. Close contact cases, as defined below, must be separated from other crew members as soon as possible.
  2. All persons on board should be assessed for their risk of exposure and classified either as a close contact with a high risk of exposure or as having a low risk of exposure.
2.
  1. Definition of close contacts on board a vessel:
    1. 1.1. a person is considered a close contact and has a high risk exposure if they meet one of the following criteria:
      1. they shared the same cabin as the suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case
      2. they had direct contact with infectious body fluids of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case (for example, was coughed or sneezed on) without the appropriate use of recommended PPE
      3. they had close contact with the suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case which is defined as being within 2 metres, having had physical contact, or were in a closed environment with the affected individual
      4. they are a rescue specialist or marine first responder who provided care for a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case without PPE
3.
  1. In the event of an outbreak of multiple cases on board a vessel:
    1. 1.1. all crew members should be assessed to determine whether they were exposed to the suspected or confirmed case(s)
    2. 1.2. if it is difficult to determine close contacts, and if widespread transmission has been identified, all crew members on board vessels could be considered close contacts who have had high exposure
Scenarios
Step Procedure
1.

For CCG vessels, with personnel suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19, within range of home port:

  1. Refer to NSOP 505 COVID-19 - Seagoing Personnel and NSOP 502 COVID-19 - Instructions for Rescue Specialist and Marine First Responders in Assisting a Suspected COVID-19 Patient for guidance on supporting infected personnel.
  2. CCG will work with health authorities at port on appropriate process for disembarking all crew members who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
  3. Refer to NSOP 518 COVID-19 - Cleaning and Disinfection Routine of the Workplace for guidance on cleaning and disinfection.
  4. Once employees suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 are disembarked, and the vessel has been cleaned and disinfected, a new crew may board the vessel to continue operations.

International Maritime Organization advises that active surveillance should take place on board the vessel for the following 14 days.

2.

For CCG vessels, with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 personnel, out of range of home port

Assumption: vessels continue to be in Canadian waters and the nearest ports are all within Canadian borders.

  1. Vessel to head to the nearest port for support.
  2. Refer to NSOP 505 COVID-19 - Seagoing Personnel and NSOP 502 COVID-19 - Instructions for Rescue Specialist and Marine First Responders in Assisting a Suspected COVID-19 Patientfor guidance on supporting employees who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
  3. CCG will work with health authorities at port on appropriate process for disembarking all crew members confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.
  4. To ensure the safety of the community, local public health authorities or the TMAS should be contacted for advice on assessment, quarantine and testing.
  5. Refer to NSOP 518 COVID-19 - Cleaning and Disinfection Routine of the Workplace for guidance on cleaning and disinfection.
  6. Once employee(s) suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 disembarked vessel has been cleaned and disinfected, a new crew may board the vessel to continue operations.

The International Maritime Organization advises that active surveillance should take place on board the vessel for the following 14 days.

3.
  1. If there is no suspected reoccurrence of COVID-19 on board, resume regular operations. If further occurrences arise, contact the Regional Operations Center (ROC) immediately.
  2. The commanding officer will conduct a risk assessment in consultation with the ROC following NSOP 501 COVID-19 - All Hazard Risk Assessment for Requests for Assistance from Other Partners to determine the appropriate next steps as the situation evolves.
4.
  1. The commanding officer must notify the Regional Operations Centre (ROC) of the situation as outlined in Operations Safety Bulletin 04-2020 Canadian Coast Guard Guidelines for Increased Awareness of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Disease and Sanitation Practices to Control the Spread of Communicable Disease..

It is normal to be concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak, especially if you or those you know are directly affected by the situation. If you have any concerns and would like to talk to someone, contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-268-7708 and/or speak directly with your supervisor.

Enquiries

Enquiries regarding this procedure should be directed to:

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