To the NJU Family:
We wanted to reach out to everyone during this time of rapidly changing circumstances in regard to COVID-19 and assure you that our team is diligently focused on ensuring the continued health and safety of our employees. We would like to share with you some of the steps we have taken, under the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities, to help prevent the spread of the virus and help keep everyone safe.
Pandemic Incident Response Team (PIRT)
NJU has formed a special committee, PIRT, whose mission is to quickly respond to reports of suspected coronavirus contagion within the company. The PIRT will also address any concerns or questions and distribute information to our employees as necessary and, of course, give direction on actions to take should a known patient or employee test positive for COVID-19 virus. Minute to minute PIRT is following recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities, including the Department of Health, in taking extra safety measures in all of our care centers and workplaces.
Sick Employees Should Stay Home
A recent notice to all employees informed employees that they are expected to stay home if they are sick with any infectious illness, such as a cold, flu, etc. If an employee comes to work sick with cold or flu-like symptoms, in order to avoid the spread of illness in the workplace or to patients, the employee’s supervisor has the authority to send the employee home. The notice also discusses concerns about coronavirus and not confusing allergies with coronavirus.
Paid Time Off and Earned Sick Leave
Employees who are sick may be concerned if they exhaust their Paid Time Off and Earned Sick Leave banks. We do not want people to come to work ill because of such concerns. Instead, those employees should contact Human Resources. We will look at each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine options that can be made available to the employee.
Keeping the Workplace Clean
We have ordered disinfectant wipes for offices and clinics, and expect to have them in the workplace in the next few days. Employees should clean their workspace. Please note that these disinfectant wipes are for use in the office and to help protect all employees. Thus, they should not be removed from the workplace or taken home or to your car for your personal use.
Reaching Out to Patients
NJU is proactively communicating with patients via text, email and phone to ask if they are experiencing any symptoms, any recent foreign travel, and if they are experiencing any coronavirus-like symptoms. Appointments are being postponed for any patient who answers affirmatively. Similarly, any patient that answer positively to our front office screeners or if they appear ill, will be asked to go to a higher acuity healthcare location for appropriate treatment.
Many districts have enacted school closures. There may be available options if this affects an employee’s ability to work. One option is to request to work from home. This will depend on the employee’s position and available tools at the employee’s home such as high-speed internet access. Another possible option is to obtain temporary day care through LightBridge that has partnered with NJU. However, please be mindful they operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, and may also be overwhelmed due to this epidemic. We urge you to prepare and find alternate solutions with friends and families.
We want all of our employees to know that we are acting on up-to-date information as it comes from the CDC. In times of crisis, misinformation tends to proliferate which can lead to widespread panic. This is why the administration is spending so many resources on ensuring that we are doing everything correctly. Nevertheless, we understand that it is likely that things may get worse before they improve. At some point, many of us may have a patient or co-worker who tests positive for COVID-19. As these events occur, we will inform those at risk about a possible exposure and we will continue to follow the CDC’s precise recommendations.
This is an unprecedented event in our lifetime, and it is understandable that people’s reactions will vary. However, we urge everyone to stay calm, respect one another, maintain your professionalism and work together as a team. Your safety will always remain our top priority and we will get through this challenging time together.
Scott Ciccarelli, CEO
Marty Goldstein, President