Physical distancing and disinfecting: Manitoba updates sandbagging guidelines ahead of spring melt
Sandbagging guidelines released Friday account for COVID-19 safety practises
As Manitoba readies for a possible flood of COVID-19 patients in hospitals, it's also preparing for a flood of more usual proportions — rising water.
And with that, some tips on how to practise physical distancing while sandbagging.
"This spring, we are potentially facing the unique challenge of fighting a high water event while at the same time slowing the spread of COVID-19," Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said in a news release on Friday.
"We are rising to that challenge and have developed a creative and innovative solution to ensure sandbagging will be undertaken while keeping Manitobans safe."
The province released updated guidelines Friday on three different methods of producing sandbags and dikes.
Each requires a minimum of six feet or two metres between individual workers who are filling sandbags or laying them into a dike.
They also call for:
- Availability of adequate hand-washing and washroom facilities.
- Regular disinfecting of surfaces.
- Alteration to work methods.
- Use of appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Assurance sick workers self-isolate for 14 days.
- Preparation for a number of workers to be sick at the same time.
At provincial worksites, the province said someone may be specifically assigned to clean common surfaces, tools and facilities.
Officials predicted — before this week's snow and rain in southern Manitoba — that the province would avoid major flooding, but said contingency plans are in place if the spring thaw requires high-water management like sandbagging.
The City of Winnipeg said this week that 57 properties may be at risk of flooding and could require dikes.