Notice to the Profession: Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka moved into Grey-Lockdown and BAO Modified EDR

Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka moved into Grey-Lockdown and the BAO’s Modified EDR; Reminder to adhere to BAO colour chart

Effective Monday, March 1, 2021

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit and Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit areas were entered into the province’s Grey-Lockdown framework Friday evening.

This means that starting Monday, March 1, BAO licensees in the Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka districts will start adhering to the BAO Registrar’s Directive Grey-Lockdown measures and the Modified Expedited Death Response (MEDR).

Reminder to all licensees

This is also a reminder to all business and personal licensees of the BAO across the province to make sure you are following current restrictions in your health unit jurisdiction as stated in the BAO COVID-19 colour chart.

Grey-Lockdown BAO restrictions concerning numbers of attendees are:

  • 10 people indoors for the entire facility; or
  • 10 people outdoors;
  • Total number of attendees are not to be combined;
  • No line-ups or ‘cycling’ of guests. One entire group at one time.

For all BAO pandemic restrictions concerning numbers, staffing, food and drink, guest management, cemeteries, crematoriums, alkaline hydrolysis, and funeral services at any location, please read our BAO COVID-19 colour chart. (The chart has been revised to match provincial government Grey-Lockdown restrictions changes — effective March 15, 2021.)

Note: Provincial government colour framework for each health unit area will continue to evolve as the pandemic changes. Here’s a link the province’s framework, or consult your local public health unit.

The Feb. 9 Registrar’s Directive with COVID-19 colour chart and MEDR remains in place. Here’s a recap for your convenience in these ever-changing times.

BAO colour chart

Here is the BAO COVID-19 colour chart, introduced in November. Please refer to it as further adjustments occur provincially in the changing pandemic. The BAO colours match those of the provincial framework. Some BAO measures are more strict than the province’s. BAO measures must be followed by all licensees.

Modified Expedited Death Response (MEDR)

The MEDR introduced on Jan. 12 remains in effect, but with a new list of public health unit jurisdictions exempted in alignment with the provincial government.

(See the Exemptions to the MEDR section.)
Here’s how the MEDR applies to BAO licensees in different service categories of the bereavement sector. 

Funeral establishments and transfer service operators

  1. Funeral/transfer staff must attend at hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities within six (6) hours of being advised that the decedent is ready for release.
  2. Funeral/transfer staff will go inside the hospital/LTC if required and remove the decedent. (This is a change from the former EDR protocols in the first wave.)
  3. Funeral/transfer staff are responsible for obtaining the Form 16 – Medical Certificate of Death (MCOD), completing a Form 15 (Statement of Death) and obtaining a Burial Permit. (There is no longer an electronic MCOD nor Coroners’ call centre staff. We are working on a substitute.)
  4. Funeral/transfer staff must make arrangements with the family within 24 hours of taking a body into care. Disposition must occur as soon as possible. There is to be no storing or “stockpiling” of decedents.

Keeping yourself and your staff healthy

  1. Remember to clean and disinfect all equipment and surfaces rigorously.
    If something can’t be cleaned or disposed of, don’t use it, i.e. – a stretcher or body pouch cover.
  2. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
  3. Screen your staff.
    Remember, people age 20-29 represent the largest number of infections by age group. Forty-two percent of COVID-19 positive people show no symptoms.
  4. The restrictions for visitations and services remain in effect: Max 10, scheduled visitations with no cycling of guests; 15-minute cleaning break between periods; guest logging for contact tracing and physical distancing must be enforced; and, everyone must wear a mask or face covering.

Crematoriums and hydrolysis facilities 
Crematoriums and hydrolysis facilities must operate at full capacity to accommodate demand in their area. This means they must operate for sufficient hours to prevent delays or backlogs.
Scheduled holds on cremations are prohibited.

All cemeteries have been directed to continue burials as long as cemetery managers determine that ground conditions remain safe to do so. Interments are to proceed without delay to prevent storage and identification problems, and stockpiling. 

Exemptions to the MEDR

The BAO’s MEDR measures apply to all areas of the province, except those in the government’s Green-Prevent and Yellow-Protect zones.

Application of the MEDR will change as the government moves public health unit jurisdictions to different restriction levels in its colour framework.

Only those jurisdictions in the Green-Prevent and Yellow-Protect zones will be exempt from the BAO’s MEDR.

Refer to the provincial framework and the BAO’s colour chart to know which restrictions apply in your community.

Thank you all for your continued professional approach to the changing pandemic.

–Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar