WINDSOR/ESSEX COUNTY HEALTH UNIT AND OMHA RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Dear LMHA Members:
The LMHA would like to address the Coronavirus health issue and its potential impact on our hockey community. As of today, the Windsor /Essex County Health Unit has posted the following statement on its website: “There are currently NO cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Windsor and Essex County. The overall risk is LOW for residents of Windsor and Essex County.”
As a hockey organization, the LMHA wishes to exercise precaution to ensure our players’ health and safety remains an absolute priority. At this time, we recommend the following from both of the Windsor /Essex County Health Unit and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA).
To reduce the risks, health professionals recommend practices consistent with good hygiene, such as frequent hand-washing with hot, soapy water, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, wiping frequently-touched surfaces with antiseptic wipes (e.g. light switches, phones, door handles, etc.), and coughing into a sleeve or tissue.
The Windsor/Essex County Health Unit https://www.wechu.org/z-health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019 has a section of its website dedicated to the topic if you are looking for more information.
In addition, the OMHA has issued a statement which is available here. The statement includes the following recommendations during hockey programming:
· Fist bump with hockey gloves on, instead of shaking hands. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
· Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol‐based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Make soap and/or hand sanitizer available in dressing rooms and hotels.
· Avoid contact with sick people, including avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
· Gloves should be worn by staff handling towels or laundry in the team environment.
· Towels should not be shared on the team bench. Players should not share clothing, bar soap or other personal items such as razors.
· The Hockey Canada Safety Program recommends the following protocol as it relates to the use of water bottles:
o Good team hygiene includes ensuring all players and staff have their own water bottles to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria.
o Bottles should be labeled and washed after each practice or game.
o It is further recommended that officials avoid the practice of drinking from the goaltender’s water bottle. If officials require water during a game, it is suggested they have their own water bottle at the penalty bench.
o There should not be sharing of water bottles in the penalty box, as well as no sharing of towels.
· Avoid raw or undercooked animal products if having team meals, or if eating while travelling to events/tournaments.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, wash hands).
· Advise players to try and not touch their own mouths or nose when in the hockey environment to reduce the chance of them passing an infection on to themselves.
· Monitor illness and injury in all teams. Parents are urged to keep their children away from the hockey environment if they are showing any signs of infectious disease or virus.
· Team members should be encouraged to self‐report if they feel ill.
As always, the health and safety of all of our participants is a priority.