The Newfoundland and Labrador Province of Canada has issued guidance on communicating in a health emergency.
- Emergencies do not supplant the need for privacy but they do impact it.
- While privacy should still be protected where possible, the need for complete and accurate information flow in a crisis is critical.
What to Collect
In general, when staff call in sick, don’t request a specific diagnosis. You may ask:
- If there was any association with COVID-19.
- Have they been advised to self-isolate?
- Do they have a confirmed diagnosis?
If a staff member is off because of COVID-19, seek guidance from public health on what information should be communicated with staff that may have been in contact with the individual, as well as the larger organization.
Privacy Principles Still Apply
- Collect, use and disclose the minimum information necessary.
- Avoid publicly identifying individuals unless absolutely necessary.
- Instead, provide details such as location, time period impact and date to assist in identifying others that may have been exposed.
- Safely transmit required information using methods appropriate to the sensitivity of the information shared.