NUPW president Akanni McDowall. (FILE)
Government and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) issued a joint statement today after discussions relating to staff of the National Assistance Board (NAB).
NUPW President Akanni McDowall said on May 2 that there had been “conflicting information coming from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Elder Affairs” concerning the quarantining of NAB workers.
This is after six employees of the state entity tested positive for the coronavirus a week ago.
Please see the statement below:
Government and the leadership of the National Union of Public Workers met today under the chairmanship of Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, to discuss a number of matters related to the cluster of positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosed among the staff of the National Assistance Board (NAB) and the associated implications for the staff, the clients of the NAB and the broader public health management of COVID-19 in Barbados.
This meeting was constructive and productive with discussions being guided by three main principles and priorities:
• Protecting the health and wellbeing of the entire staff of the NAB and their families who have been impacted either directly or indirectly by these events
• Ensuring there is no compromise of the health and wellbeing or quality of service delivered to the more than 1 000 clients of the NAB
• Maintaining the principles of sound public health management in the management of this NAB cluster that have guided the implementation of the National Pandemic Plan for COVID-19 in Barbados.
The meeting agreed as follows:
• All members of the staff of the NAB on active duty since the diagnosis of the first case linked to the NAB cluster will be tested for COVID-19
• All members of staff of the NAB testing positive for COVID-19 will go into isolation for treatment at the Harrison’s Point Isolation Centre.
• The entire staff of the Country Road Office of the NAB, which is the main location of the cluster of cases, along with members of their households will undergo a period of 14 days quarantine dating from last exposure to a confirmed case, at facilities designated by the Ministry of Health & Wellness.
• The Government of Barbados through the Ministry of Health & Wellness and the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs will take every reasonable measure to protect and promote the welfare of those in quarantine or isolation including the quality of accommodation, nutrition and access to appropriate pyscho-social support.
• All additional staff of the NAB who may have come into contact with an infected member of staff would have done so outside of the contagious period and therefore there is absolutely no COVID-19 public health risk associated with engagement with the staff of the NAB and therefore no need for the public to be concerned.
• The Home Help Workers and other field staff of the NAB who have been tested for COVID-19 and are negative and who have been assessed and cleared by the Ministry of Health & Wellness will continue their duties in support of the elderly in care or shut-in as of Monday May 4, 2020.
• All Home Help Workers and other field staff of the NAB will continue to be provided with full personal protective equipment (PPE) as per the protocols of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
• All outstanding payments of wages and salaries to NAB staff which may have been delayed by the requirement of quarantine of the office staff will be paid no later than Tuesday, May 5, 2020.
• The Government of Barbados in consultation with the National Union of Public Workers will develop a channel for communication with the staff of the NAB to keep them abreast of all relevant developments and to assure them of the continuing support of both entities as this situation is managed. (PR)