COVID Update, Commander Wolfson
COVID-19 Latest Updates – Temperature Screening
|The message below is from Commander Dianna Wolfson regarding temperature screening started due to COVID-19.|
Team PSNS & IMF,
Hard to believe, but it’s been 9 weeks since I first communicated with you about COVID-19. It’s amazing to me to think of all we have learned, put into action and how our understanding of this virus continues to evolve. We remain committed to minimizing the spread, in order to maximize our mission.
As you saw this morning, a great example of this is temperature screenings at the gates. Like me, I know you have all been performing your daily self-screenings and this is one more way in which we help to confirm, to the maximum extent practical, that you aren’t sick when coming to work. You see, you could be sick without even knowing it. You could have a temperature without even realizing it. The cool, springtime PNW mornings are very beautiful, but are also great at masking a slight fever. A temperature may be one way of your body telling you that you are fighting off an infection. Of course, some of us can naturally have a higher body temperature but we will work through that together too. So, in the background we have been working to develop a plan that we could implement effectively. Taking close to 10,000 temperatures at the gates is no small feat! Thank you to the screening teams who have been working so diligently on this and thank you for your patience as we refine this process. Implementing this in stages has been helpful as we were able to procure thermometers that work in our climate. Purchasing thermometers, just like most things in the medical supply chain right now, were hard to come by and we have gone through multiple thermometers to find ones that would work at the gate where we don’t have a controlled environment. And while places begin to reopen or in the case that we do have a resurgence, we will be poised to ensure our safety. That is the goal. If you are still asking why? Simply put, it is just one of the ways that we are helping to ensure our shipyard is maintained as COVID free as possible. It’s our duty to each other, and the vessels we work on, to take these necessary precautions.
Which brings me to another important point! You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Which is why facemasks and social distancing are so important. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It’s not just about you though. By wearing facemasks and ensuring social distancing, we protect each other, our families and our shipyard. We must continue to follow the protective triad – facemasks, social distancing and good hygiene. You’ll see this in a handout we also provided this morning. Nothing can take the place of good handwashing and daily cleanings. These are our best defenses against COVID-19. We will win this war if we collectively take these recommended actions.
I stopped to talk with someone in the hall yesterday and he said, “Mission first. People always.” I couldn’t agree more. While we have an extremely important mission to accomplish here, and I am thankful for that every day, you are a part of every decision we make. It’s why we took immediate action and got many of our teammates out of the shipyard nearly 8 weeks ago. It’s why we have been working so hard to procure or make PPE and why we are staffing the gates. It’s also why we are communicating all of this information, even though it may feel overwhelming at times. Actions that further protect our workforce are worth it.
You may have heard about Governor Inslee’s plan to reopen Washington state; he has laid out a phased approach to guide the community through the next few months. Safe Start Washington includes four phases, each will last at least three weeks and movement between the phases will be based on data in order to resume recreational, social and business activities. Every phase will still require social distancing and appropriate health precautions and use of personal protective equipment in a number of workplaces. The White House has also developed a three-phase plan with specific gating criteria to help the country reopen. Similarly, we have been discussing and determining what our eventual return to a ‘new normal’ looks like for all of us. And what does that even mean, new normal? I know that none of this feels normal. But we do need to figure out how we are going to fit COVID into our daily lives vice fitting our lives into COVID. We are working on the details right now and my desire is to also operate in phases, and look to all the guidance from the CDC, DoD and the state in making our decisions. Please know that the safety of our workforce and our community will be my priority, just like it has throughout this pandemic. And the idea is to continue with fact-based decision making and communications with all of you real-time! I’m going to lay out some of these phased approach ideas in my next Commander’s Corner in Salute, so check it out!
Tied in with the Governor’s decision to extend our stay at home order is the extension of administrative leave for our higher-risk individuals. Although the outlook wasn’t really changing for us, I know I missed the window to provide you much advance notice during the last two weeks, and so I am getting in front of that this time. Administrative leave is extended for another two weeks, with the period ending 26 May. As for telework, I know each department is working on this and determining what is needed to accomplish our mission while continuing to minimize the spread. This may mean that some teammates will be needed back in our shipyard full time while others continue to telework full time or come in as needed during the week. Whatever that looks like for you, I appreciate your flexibility as we work through it. I also received a very nice email from a fellow teammate and I wanted to share his sentiments with you. He provided me with some fresh perspective he gained over the weekend. His words really spoke to me. He went on to discuss the psychological states that many of our fellow community partners are experiencing and the optic of being “non-essential” and it was a wake-up call to him that we are truly important and “essential” to our Navy, our country and our national security. Our mission. Our community, our country, our world have experienced or still are experiencing great loss due to COVID-19. The terrible loss of life, jobs, businesses. But here, at work, we know what we must accomplish. We have constancy of purpose. We are dedicated to our mission and our Navy needs us. We are needed, and right now, I find that especially motivating. I am proud of you and our work. I hope you are too. But this also brings to light something else that is very important, the need to take care of each other. So, make that extra call today or this weekend to see how a friend or loved one is doing. It might just be the difference needed.
I’ll close by saying thank you. I see you. I appreciate you. You are making a difference for our Navy and our country. Please, keep up all of your efforts and daily interventions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure we are ready to support the fleet. #WeGotThis
As always, please share this with your teammates without computer access.
ONE MISSION – ONE TEAM!
V/R,CAPT Dianna WolfsonCommander PSNS & IMF & NWRMC”