The following letter was received by Andrew Stevens, a Regina city councillor and co-founder of Rankandfile.ca. It was first shared publicly on Facebook. It relates to the scab camp established at the Co-op Refinery in Regina in which the employer has locked out refinery workers for over 100 days. Stevens writes of the letter:
“I received this statement from an RN here in our City about the camp. I was given the permission to share this on-line, provided I remove all identifiers. The person’s name, role in the hospital, and workplace have been removed. This isn’t the only exchange I’ve had with health care professionals about the camp. In several cases the individuals reaching out have no relationship with Unifor Local 594 members.”
Letter from RN
I am writing this letter as a concerned health care provider and citizen in regards to the camps that continue to operate at the [Regina Co-op] refinery amongst COVID 19.
I am an [RN]. Myself and colleagues are facing this virulent virus head on with such uncertainty and are relying heavily on the community to help us flatten the curve by staying home and remaining socially distant. Most businesses not considered essential have shut down, and those that remain open have implemented social distancing protocols. I have heard some social distance protocols have been put in place – I fear this is simply not enough….
When I learned that there was no plan to shut down the camp, I was shocked and fearful for what the repercussions of this may be on our hospital.
My understanding is there are around 8 workers to one trailer in close proximity of one another sharing toiletries and even more concerning is that they share ducting between them.
According to WHO:
“World health officials say the respiratory disease spreads through human to human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing as well as germs left on inanimate objects. The coronavirus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity, they said.”
Given the virus is considered aerosolized when sneezing, this raises large concern for the individuals sleeping in close quarters together sharing the same ducting.
I also understand that there is a very large communal area to gather for meals upwards of 100 people, if not more. I have heard that when inspection takes place, social distance is visible to appease inspectors …. However, when inspection leaves, this is not the case.
My concern is that these members are not secluded enough – many members are still coming in and out of the community, which I understand is necessary for an essential service. However, those that come in and out should be sent directly home and back to work. The camp is completely unnecessary and just a breeding cesspool of potential illness. Even more concerning are those that travel in and out of the province, some even flying in and out of the country without proper screening or 14 day self quarantine upon return.
COVID aside….. Many other concerns arise about the camps: What about the safety of them living in such close proximity to the refinery!? In the blast zone as they call it. Or being downwind of toxins from the stacks. Or being right next to the dump? Again, I understand that the refinery must run and is considered an essential service. The camp however is completely unnecessary and should be shut down for many reasons as it is not essential to have multiple workers sleep together in close quarters amongst these potential dangers facing them.
My fear: this virus spreads easily and like wildfire …… If even ONE person contracts the virus in this camp setting….. The result could be utter devastation and collapse of our healthcare system. We can not handle a massive influx of patients all at once for treatment into our already burdened hospital. This is exactly what we are trying to avoid – any type of mass influx. We are already against so many odds – please help us help our community and shut this down. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
END OF LETTER