Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson yesterday outlined the steps the corporation is taking in light of The Bahamas having its first official case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The steps include restricting travel and canceling all vacation until further notice, providing face masks and equipment to its employees, establishing emergency “standby” teams and having a company nurse check employees for the disease, among other operational adjustments.
In a press release issued yesterday, Gibson said: “Last week, I directed that WSC orders cases of masks and plastic gloves.
“I further directed the filling of all containers in on-site machines that dispense hand sanitizer. Moreover, I directed the general manager to ensure that the industrial nurse drafts and provides all necessary material for staff circulars.
“I believe that the HR Division has also been working on the same. She should also make inquiries and appraise us of testing being offered by government.
“I had a meeting with key leaders at the corporation this morning. A functional committee is being formed to address the COVID-19 pandemic [and] we are perusing a draft Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan and Checklist attached for your perusa[l].”
Gibson outlined that all vacation will be canceled immediately, with no new applications being approved and any employees currently on vacation being “recalled”; employees will not be permitted to bring their children onto the work grounds; cashiers, particularly, will be required to consistently wash and sanitize their hands, as they deal with money frequently; an “isolation area” will be built to allow the industrial nurse to examine employees when necessary and the nurse will also be equipped with an infrared thermometer to assist in identifying possible COVID-19 cases; hand washing stations will be installed “throughout the corporation”; and the company will not take on any summer students.
On the Family Islands, he noted, “All islands will receive a gallon of HDQ, a strong sanitizer, to be used in the mornings and after closing of the offices (some 20 in the Family Islands).
“Clorox spray will be sent for use in between the sanitizing at least on an hourly basis to spray and wipe down counters, doors reception areas.
“Each staff member will receive wipes and alcohol to be used in the absence of sanitizers [and] we continue to source additional sanitizers.”
In the meantime, Gibson noted that certain aspects of the operations would actually be ramped up in an effort to ensure that the supply of potable water remains stable.
This includes staff “promptly” checking “all New Providence standpipes” to make sure they are functional, staff engaging in “increased vigilance [on] water quality checks”, construction teams making more of an effort to “complete any outstanding new water connections”, staff ensuring that standby generators throughout the country are “fully serviced and fueled” and also ensuring that company vehicles have sufficient fuel storage levels.
Gibson sought to assure the public that there is sufficient water supply to maintain New Providence “in any event”, and urged the public and employees to follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.