COVID19 - Update 2
Hey guys, as always we hope all is well. A few updates for you from the E-board...
WEEKLY UPDATE - PSFD COVID-19 RESPONSE
We are still doing daily (Mon-Thurs) conference calls with Command Staff. We are still working through some issues with staffing procedures, exposures, and PPE. We are also looking into some better PPE/equipment and decontamination options for the apparatus and stations. The BC’s have offered to be the collection point for any FD-related questions, and as always you can reach out to any of the E-Board members if anything comes up or if you have any questions.
EXPOSURES, PRESUMPTION, and WORKMEN’s COMP
Please document all known COVID-19 exposures with the City and on the unions PER website. We know there has been some frustration and disagreement with what our FD is calling an “exposure” and how our PPE is being used. Also, it is important that you let one of us know if an when you run into these situations. We have found out about a few of them second hand. It is also to understand that the FD is going off of what the CDC’s general recommendations are. However, the CDC is not necessarily worried about workmen’s comp! Regardless of your PPE worn, an exposure is an exposure. PPE does not 100% prevent you from getting COVID-19. Even if it were to prevent it up to 99.9%, there is still a likelihood we could contract it, and that .1% should be enough for me, you, and your families. That .1% could mean that your family is not taken care of. Firefighters have got “occupational/job-related/presumptive” type cancers and been denied workmen’s comp. So, do everything you can to take this seriously and document any exposures.
We were told this week that there is a bill on Governor Newsom’s desk that will make COVID-19 presumptive. This is a great step for all healthcare workers out on the front-line, however, it does not guarantee that a workmen’s comp claim will be a home-run win. COVID-19 is likely to be VERY litigated through workmen’s comp claims, so we need to stack the deck in our favor. There have been firefighters, cops, sheriffs, and healthcare workers that have died from this. Two Riverside Sheriff Deputies just passed away from COVID-19 in the last 2 days. This is serious stuff fellas. We want to make sure that you guys and your families are protected in the event of a worst case scenario.
Here is a small blip sent by our Attorney firm regarding Workmen’s Comp and COVID-19.
There Is No All-Purpose General Formula for Determining Compensability Related to the Coronavirus: For purposes of assessing potential workers’ compensation liability related to the coronavirus, the CDC risk zones are only illustrative general guidelines. Potential workers’ compensation liability in California will be based on a detailed and focused assessment of the particular facts and circumstances related to each individual’s workplace and the nature of the mechanism(s) of exposure for each employee. Since each case of an alleged industrial coronavirus injury must be decided upon its particular facts, there is no comprehensive formula available for determining whether a particular case is compensable or not. An exposure to coronavirus may prove compensable even if the exposure is not the kind anticipated by the employment or particular to certain types of employment.
COVID19 EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE
Legislators passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which offers 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for COVID19 related issues. As of right now, it is an option for us based off the resource that was posted on the City’s website. We are working on getting confirmation that this will apply to the City’s first responders, because under the Act, first responders are not necessarily entitled to it. More to come on this one...
“An employer is not required to give Emergency Paid Sick Leave to an employee who is a healthcare provider or an emergency responder”
CITY OF PS LINK
We have asked the Fire Chief to discontinue the posting of any information specific to our members and any testing results related to them. This is both a privacy a HIPPA issue. Nor, do we want someone in the public (or news/media) to be able to access this information through a public information act request. We all know what the process is if we get exposed, and we know what the process is to come back to work.
RYAN WHITE ACT
COVID 19 was just added to list of Potentially Life-Threatening Infectious diseases list under the Ryan White Act. There’s a lot to this Act, but the most important one that applies to us falls under Part G, which requires notification to Emergency Response Employees (EREs) in the event of an exposure. Basically, this means that we could have been previously exposed to patients who tested positive for COVID-19, and notification would not have had to been made to us. So, moving forward, we should not have any issues with notification of exposures because of this addition to the Ryan White Act.
Stay safe out there,