Major infection prevention strategies for the workplace were shared with Judiciary staff on Tuesday 4 August through a half-day training session to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19.
Led by Nursing Officers Rita Jean, Rhonda Burka, and Medical Officer Dr Prisca Owiti from the Public Health Authority, the training focused on four key strategies; hand and respiratory hygiene, office cleaning, environmental control, and administrative control.
They also helped the Judiciary’s internal health personnel to identify spaces that would be appropriate for a quarantine area if anyone on Judiciary premises experiences severe COVID-19 symptoms and needs a place to wait for medical staff to take them to official quarantine facilities.
Hand and respiratory hygiene focused on personal practices, and includes not sharing any food, drink, personal items, phones, pens, laptops, and others while in the workplace.
It was highlighted that a cloth mask should be washed daily in hot water, and should be comfortable enough to be worn all day if necessary. Demonstrations were made on how to properly put on and remove a mask, which should be kept in a zip lock bag at all times. Demonstrations were also done on how to wash and sanitize hands without neglecting the wrists.
Ms. Jean and Ms. Burka pointed out that the use of gloves can give a false sense of security, and advised to simply use bare hands when dealing with other people’s money or ID (for those at the cash register or at the screening points) and to sanitize afterwards. Once gloves are contaminated, it is hard to see with the naked eye and the same gloves will be used to deal with other people’s personal things which are not necessarily infect – hence spreading germs faster.
However, they recommend that industrial type gloves should still be worn by all cleaning staff.
Hands should be sanitized after touching any surface used often by other members of the public, such as door handles, elevator buttons, water dispenser buttons, vending machines, etc.
As for office hygiene, they noted that general cleaning and dusting should be done prior to disinfecting surfaces by wiping them directly, so as to ensure cleaning is done effectively.
Ms. Jean noted that there are some risks to having a centralized air conditioning unit, which recycles the air in all the different spaces, and increases the chance of germs spreading around.
Fresh air is strongly recommended for office spaces, especially those with small, confined space where social distancing measures cannot be respected. This forms part of environmental control.
Administrative control includes shift work to minimize crowing in a work space and trainings to further educate and empower staff on the signs of COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread.
The Public Health Authority has deemed the Judiciary as a high risk space, given the volume of people from the public accessing the courts on a daily basis.
For this reason, it was crucial to brief all senior staff of the Judiciary so they may share the information in their respective departments and ensure services can continue to run efficiently.