COVID-19 (Corona Virus)

Maintenance Connection Canada

Created: 2020.03.06 | Last updated: 2020.07.24

Our COVID-19 comments:

The COVID-19 is changing our society quickly. We have chosen to NOT be one of the ones plugging your email addresses with our COVID-19 thoughts and responses every day. Here are our comments, we will update them as seems appropriate over the coming months and years.

This blog started when our owner got back from a business trip to Central America in early March 2020 and shortly prior to that a trip for a conference in Spain and the bulk of the world was mostly ignoring COVID-19 as 'a China and a dozen cities in the USA thing.' Indeed, in Spain no one, including our owner, had even heard of COVID-19 even though in hindsight it was already in Spain when he travelled there and on March 5, the only 'sign' was a handful of people in Texas with masks - mostly around their necks, not covering their faces. On return to Canada the only question asked relevant to COVID-19 at the airport was "Have you been to China in the last 14 days'. A couple days later he went into 14 day isolation, a couple days after entering isolation it become in vogue (around March 12th, 2020) to isolate after travel and shortly he came out of his 14 day isolation (March 25, 2020) it became mandatory in his location to self isolate for 14 days.

We are experts in WFH:

The owner of MCC has been an expert in the WFH (Work From Home) culture for 30 years. Over 90% of MCC staff have been working from home since ‘day one’.

The other 10% also works most of the time from home and we reduced this further a few weeks ago to the point that none of our staff have worked from ‘the office’ for over a month now (So as of early April, 2020).

We are doing the final stages of converting our accounting and related systems to electronic only. We have been, again, more than 90% of the way there already, our goal is 100%.

Really, the only thing holding us back from reaching the 100% goal is that some customers still send payment via paper cheques in the mail.

If you would like our assistance in getting your WFH working more efficient, contact us, even if you just want a short talk to learn from our successes and mistakes.

Other responses:

We are also suspending all non-emergency travel until June 15th 2020, (3 months) and will consider extending that if it seems prudent. But again, we have, for more than 20 years, been doing the vast majority of our customer support electronically. 2020.05.15 Coming as no surprise to anyone, we have extended non-emergency travel indefinitely, and being realistic, this could mean years, until there is a widespread vaccine and/or the heard solution has come about. Like many others, we have been predicting in Canada that if schools open in September, that there will be another massive shutdown by the end of October. In some parts of Canada the decision has already been made, (2020.07.15:) and it is rumored (well second hand info in our case) that Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer in Alberta is being pressured by the Education minister and the ATA (Alberta Teacher's association) to open schools fully on September 1st 2020 regardless of the health risk. 2020.07.24: Yup, we are opening September 1st and listening to Dr. Hinshaw, the ATA, the Education minister and the Premier, their very careful choices of words indicate to us very clearly that Hinshaw was opposed to opening on Sept 1st 2020 but was given no choice (Hinshaw is clearly not recommending it, but the others keep saying they are following her rules - never suggesting that she thinks it is the right decision or that it is her recommendation). 2020.07.26 - the medical community is criticizing the decision to open schools saying it will flood the hospital system beyond capacity, and that while they are ramping up to prepare for the huge increase, they think the government is irresponsible to suggest that this is going to have little effect.

In any event, our business response is: COVID-19 is going to be a major influence on the lives of people around the world for likely 3 or 4 years - it is not over, it is not going away, so our objective is how to deal with it and how to help our customers deal with it as effectively as possible. We are also convinced that the economic and societal effects will continue well into the future, even when it is gone and forgotten why we made these changes.

For sales 'in' country our staff are in, it will be at the discretion of the salesperson and the customer whether in person sales change to fully electronic, subject to following all local rules plus any practical ways to increase safety of the individuals on our team and the people we come in contact with. Avoidance of contact being the primary technique we are recommending and following.

Practical help, ventilators:

One of the senior members on our team, Richard Crutchley, is using his expertise to help during this time of crisis. He has been given leave to help as he is able.

He reported that:

"I was recently contacted by Head of Business Engagement, Principal Lecturer in Computer Science at University of Wolverhampton in the UK who, as I understand, is assisting the government in enlisting UK Manufacturers to build ventilators. The contact had worked on a study project with me a number of years ago and was hoping that I was still local but realized I now reside in Canada. I messaged him back and said he could call me.

I had heard via media sources that globally non-medical device manufacturers could use any spare capacity to produce ventilators for their respective health organizations. Initially I was skeptical but I had given it some thought.

During our call I suggested that it was impractical to redesign a device from scratch because it would take too long to design, build, test and deploy such a device. I have not been directly involved as a Biomedical Engineer for 10 years but I thought back to my work as an Intensive Care Unit Technician and remembered that we had used on occasion the “Manley Ventilator”. It was a device used for a number of decades in the UK as a workhorse ventilator before the introduction of electronics to the therapy. We discussed the fact that although it is an older design it required little maintenance. Assuming the plans were available, patents could well have lapsed and it should be possible for manufacturers to create parts then a small assembly line could be put together to build these units. The “Manley Ventilator” approach to ventilation was preferred by our medical staff because it gave a preset fixed volume of gas rather that the alternative “Bird” ventilator where the cycles were triggered by pressure.

They are attempting to locate the plans for it, they have a 3D metal printer that they are going to use to build prototypes."

We will share updates when we are able to.

We hope this information is helpful. We are sure there are people in Canada and the USA and other countries looking into the practicalities of building ventilators en masse and there may be medical and legal reasons that I am not aware of which may make this form of ventilation unsuitable. If we can be of further assistance during this pandemic, we are happy to volunteer in any suitable capacity. We are now passing this info on to people that may be able to get this information in the right hands, politicians that we have a relationship with and customers that might be able to get it correctly such as our hospital customers

We are a worldwide company with offices and customers in countries on several continents even though our name is ‘Maintenance Connection Canada’. The offer to help applies to all countries that we legally can, not just Canada, the USA and the UK.

Crutchley, worked for 30 years as a biomedical engineer in the NHS maintaining and repairing equipment in the ICU and Operating Theatres. He was also the Quality Management Representative for the Medical Devices Department (ISO13485). Prior to his move to Canada he was a Team Leader for the Biomedical Engineers covering ICU, Operating Rooms and Renal Dialysis for 10 years. Currently, he is the Director of Operations for a Computerized Maintenance Management/EAS Software company with both online and offline/mobile applications in Maintenance Connection Canada and Cascadia CMMS Inc. and also an active Consultant for the implementation of a number of ISO standards. He is also an IRCA Certificated Auditor for Quality Assurance.

Costa Rica news 2020.07.29 While the number of cases per day has been skyrocketing according our staff in Costa Rica, the government has invited Canadians and others (notably not people from the USA) to enter their country as long as they meet a few rules such as getting a COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to departure. Not only that but, on August 1st 2020 when this happens, there will be NO requirement to self isolate for 14 days upon arrival for these travelers. Of course, you have to get there, in the past all the trips there have been through the USA so currently that is out of the question. On the surface it looks like the government of Costa Rica has decided that the economic damage of the REACTION to COVID-19 has been worse than the disease itself.

2020.07.29 I (Peter, the owner of Maintenance Connection Canada) have been saying since the middle of March that I am not in any way saying that the various governments have or have not made the right choices. I have opinions, but I my focus is on my family including my business family which includes staff, contractors and customers around the world. I am well aware I do not have enough information (or even just data) to believe that I know what the right action is. My comments in this blog are trying to understand what my personal and corporate RESPONSE should be to be as moral and legal and effective and useful (and many other words) as possible. There are very few things where I am certain about my opinions. I will risk criticism by stating the ones here that I am certain of:

  • Shutting down Churches but leaving Casinos open in Alberta was one obvious one that I commented on - should both stay open? perhaps, but shutting down Churches while leaving Casinos free to spread the virus - that was clearly political doublespeak.

  • Opening schools in September 2020 saying "We are following Hinshaw's rules" without mentioning that Hinshaw recommended AGAINST opening them, that was wrong. Should the open? That I'm not saying I know the correct answer.

    2020.08.04 Canada's Chief health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, finally realized today (at least realized today 'publically') that even WITH a vaccine, COVID-19 is going to be a major disruption for 2 or 3 years. That even with a vaccine, restrictions may have to be in place "for several years". With more than 150 vaccines being tested, surely, being cautiously optimistic, one of these will actually make a significant difference. It was also reported today that 'there are over 166 vaccines .... being tested' (Ah ... so 167?)

    The Government of Canada app is not being widely adopted. So far only 1.1 million downloads (less than 3% of the population) have occured. It has been estimated that we need at least 60% of the population to download it for it to have a large impact. One news outlet today suggested that the Canadian pubilc are not trusting the Trudeau government promises that they aren't using the data for other purposes as well - though several security specialists have said they are not concerned that the Trudeau government may be tracking the data for anything other than what they have said they are using it for.

    2020.08.08 Optimism seems to be abounding that COVID-19 is essentially over and that we will not return to the strict economic shutdown rules of earlier this year and that borders and flights will open this fall. I'm not sure where this optimism is coming from, I must be missing something! I hope it is right, but I am not betting on it yet.