Dear Community Leader:
All of us play a part in reducing the spread of COVID-19. We have communicated our COVID-19 Best Practice Recommendations and Expectations with our staff and would like to share the information with you. Together, we can all help prevent further community transmission of COVID-19.
We value our connections in the community and are pleased that many of our staff are able to participate in a variety of organizations and activities on behalf of Mayo Clinic. For the safety of our staff, and the patients they care for each day, Mayo Clinic guidance calls for staff in these situations to participate via video conference or phone conference where possible. If we do attend in person, please understand that we will wear masks as a public safety measure and maintain physical distancing, both to reduce the risk of exposure and to demonstrate best practices for keeping our communities safer.
Please see below for the COVID-19 Best Practices and Expectations developed by our Mayo Clinic Health System Southeast Minnesota Safety Management and Resource Team (SMaRT) and recently shared with our employees.
Set the Tone and Expectation – We Are ALL Responsible for Reducing Risk: Each one of us has a personal responsibility to our families, co-workers, patients and communities to ensure we are not contributing to the spread of COVID-19. We KNOW what works to prevent transmission: wearing masks properly, all the time, no exceptions; maintaining social distancing of 6 ft., particularly when engaged in high-risk activities like eating or drinking that require removal of masks; scrupulous hand hygiene; and regular cleaning/disinfecting of surfaces. Every one of us can recite this list; now more than ever, we need to make sure we LIVE this list.
Emphasize the Importance of Employee Masking: We understand and empathize that wearing a mask poses discomfort, particularly after a long (warm) day. Masking for patients AND EMPLOYEES is critical to reducing risk of exposure. Employees should wear a mask at all times, including when entering Mayo Clinic buildings, as well as in all public and patient care areas on campus. When eating or drinking, staff must maintain appropriate social distance of six feet.
Site leaders and staff are encouraged to identify spaces that permit adequate physical distancing in social settings, such as when removing masks to eat or drink. Please remain diligent – It is VITALLY IMPORTANT to wear our masks.
Evaluate Shared Workspaces: Several areas have shared workspaces (care teams, nursing teams, switchboard, provider offices, etc.). Departments are encouraged to consider the advisability of shared workspaces and to identify opportunities to reduce shared communal areas for long periods of time (if possible). Masking and eye protection are considered safe barriers for protection and exposure. Shared workstations can become a high risk of exposure potential, if staff are eating/drinking and taking breaks at their workstation (therefore, removing masks). Remove food, excess clutter and open beverages from shared/communal areas.
Consider Outside Seating for Meals/Breaks: Departmental breakrooms tend to be small in size. Consider rotating lunches, if possible, and/or identify alternative options to eat in a setting that allows for 6-foot social distancing. Eating, drinking and talking increases the formation and spread of droplets, and therefore increases risk of exposure. Six-foot social distancing practices also apply in cafeteria areas, as well.
Cleaning of High-Touch Surfaces, Including Employee Workspaces: Similar to exam rooms and patient areas, employee areas need to be routinely cleaned, following the wet contact time instructions per disinfectant wipe instructions.
Ensure Social Distancing Signage is Displayed in Break Room Areas: Please review employee-only space and consider adding appropriate social distancing/masking signage as a reminder for staff.
Speak Up and Encourage Others Around You: MCHS has a culture of safety, which includes speaking up and helping keep others accountable. Please encourage your staff to speak up in a way that is supportive and models Mayo Clinic’s professionalism.
Conduct Safety Rounds/Audits in Your Workspace: Managers and leaders are asked to complete Safety Rounds/audits in your respective department/work area. Safety Rounds offer opportunity for staff to ask questions, reinforce expectations, and identify any gaps and opportunities for improvement or further review.
You may also be interested in an initiative recently launched in Rochester to support adoption of best practices like those mentioned above to the benefit of customers, staff and visitors. You can read more about it here and contact us if you would like more information. We are delighted to hear of other similar initiatives in communities like Owatonna and Red Wing. Thank you for your efforts!
Thank you for your consideration of adopting best practices that suit your needs and keep your staff and customers healthy. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Brian Bunkers, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic Health System Owatonna and Faribault
Our Chamber has approximately 530 members that invest their resources, employee volunteerism and confidence in the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism and the business community.