Risk Alert – Indoor Air Quality Considerations When Reopening Idled Buildings (Issued May 15, 2020) – This Risk Alert provides facility managers tasked with reopening public buildings practical solutions for addressing potential Legionella, sewer odor and mold concerns.
Risk Alert – COVID-19 Exposure Prevention (Issued April 7, 2020 – replaces version dated March 18, 2020): This Risk Alert updates prior guidance for public employees and volunteers on how to protect against potential exposure to COVID-19. It includes newly released guidance on wearing cloth face coverings when in public and how to create your own using common household materials. The guidance for police officers and medical first responders has not changed. The prior Risk Alert dated March 18, 2020 should be deleted. Please share with your employees, volunteers and all first responders.
Risk Alert – Recommendations for Managing Shortages of Respirators (issued March 26, 2020 )- This Risk Alert offers recommendations for public employers on managing shortages of respirators required to protect employees and volunteers at high risk of close contact with individuals potentially infected with COVID-19.
Risk Alert – Crisis Capacity Strategy for Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators (issued April 6, 2020): This Risk Alert supplements the recommendations contained in our March 26, 2020 Risk Alert, “Recommendations for Managing Shortages of N-95 Respirators”. It describes a CDC-endorsed strategy for quasi-decontamination of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) in the event supplies of this critical protective equipment reach crisis levels.
Risk Alert – Injury Prevention When Telecommuting (issued May 4, 2020): This Risk Alert reviews several of these challenges and proposes practical remedies to optimize safety and productivity when telecommuting.
Updated April 7, 2020
Cleaning Potentially COVID-19 Contaminated Surfaces: The CDC issued updated guidance applicable to all on cleaning potentially COVID-19 contaminated surfaces. They have added recommendations for several new surfaces including electronic equipment. Please see the following link for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfecting-building-facility.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM24835.
***Flash Fire Hazard During Large Volume Spray Application of 70% Alcohol Solutions for Equipment Decontamination Purposes***: DVT has become aware of some medical first responders applying 70% alcohol solutions via high-volume spray applicators for equipment decontamination purposes. While the efficacy of these solutions against COVID-19 has been confirmed by the CDC, employees and volunteers may not be aware of the significant flash fire risk they are inadvertently creating. Both liquids have relatively low flash points. Spray application further increases the potential for ignition due to static discharge or contact with an ignition source. Dispensing 70% alcohol on a rag or micro cloth and using it to wipe surfaces is a recommended alternate method to reduce the flash fire risk. If spray application is required, it is recommended to substitute a non-combustible, equipment-compatible, EPA-approved surface disinfectant shown to be effective against COVID-19. For disinfectant options, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.
COVID-19 Exposure and Risk Mitigation Best Practices for Law Enforcement
(Issued: April 6, 2020)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a resource document intended to be a “one-stop shop” for law enforcement on topics related to COVID-19 risk mitigation and exposure prevention while performing official duties. This is a useful resource for anyone responsible for law enforcement exposure risk management.
Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Building Owners
(Updated: April 9, 2020)
Among other items of interest to employers, this updated guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. It also recommends that building owners make changes to building ventilation systems including:
- Increasing ventilation rates.
- Increasing the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Park Facility Owners
(Updated: April 10, 2020)
The updated guidance provides recommendations for reducing infection risk at public parks. This includes:
Display public health posters or signs throughout the park to educate visitors on basic infection prevention practices consisting of:
- Staying home if you are sick or do not feel well, and what to do if you’re sick or feel ill.
- Using social distancing and maintaining at least six feet between individuals in all areas of the park.
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Maintain restrooms. Ensure they have functional toilets, clean and disinfected surfaces, and handwashing supplies. Restrooms should remain open if a park remains open for public visitation.
Ensure that public restrooms are:
- Operational with functional toilets.
- Cleaned and disinfected regularly, particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, doorknobs, and light switches. Clean restrooms daily or more often if possible using EPA-registered household disinfectants.
- Regularly stocked with supplies for handwashing, including soap and materials for drying hands.
Make sure people are social distancing in popular areas of the park. Facility owners should consider temporary closure of recreation assets to encourage social distancing practices. These areas include sports fields, playgrounds, skateparks, basketball courts, tennis courts, and picnic areas. To ensure visitors avoid these areas, it is recommended that owners place physical barriers as well as post signage communicating that the area is closed.
If organized sports activity has been suspended within the park, communicate with sports team coaches that unofficial sports practices are also prohibited within the park.
Updated COVID-19 Solid Waste and Wastewater Management Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
(Updated: April 11, 2020)
While intended for healthcare settings, several of the FAQs address concerns voiced by public employees involved in waste management operations:
Q: What do waste management companies need to know about wastewater and sewage coming from a healthcare facility or community setting with either a known COVID-19 patient or patients under investigation (PUIs)?
A: Waste generated in the care of PUIs or patients with confirmed COVID-19 does not present additional considerations for wastewater disinfection in the United States. Coronaviruses are susceptible to the same disinfection conditions in community and healthcare settings as other viruses, so current disinfection conditions in wastewater treatment facilities are expected to be sufficient. This includes conditions for practices such as oxidation with hypochlorite (i.e., chlorine bleach) and peracetic acid, as well as inactivation using UV irradiation.
Q: Do wastewater and sewage workers need any additional protection when handling untreated waste from healthcare or community setting with either a known COVID-19 patient or PUI?
A: Wastewater workers should use standard practices including basic hygiene precautions and wear the recommended PPE as prescribed for their current work tasks when handling untreated waste. There is no evidence to suggest that employees of wastewater plants need any additional protections in relation to COVID-19.
Q: Should medical waste or general waste from healthcare facilities treating PUIs and patients with confirmed COVID-19 be handled any differently or need any additional disinfection?
A: Medical waste (trash) coming from healthcare facilities treating COVID-2019 patients is no different than waste coming from facilities without COVID-19 patients. CDC’s guidance states that management of laundry, food service utensils, and medical waste should be performed in accordance with routine procedures. There is no evidence to suggest that facility waste needs any additional disinfection.
Reopening of Golf Courses and Certain Other Recreation Activities
Governor Wolf announced beginning May 1 that golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen statewide. These activities must adhere to updated life-sustaining business guidance issued by the administration. Links to this announcement and referenced guidance appear below.
Press release: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/governor-announces-may-1-statewide-reopening-of-limited-outdoor-recreational-activities-to-help-pennsylvanians-maintain-positive-physical-mental-health/
Updated life sustaining business guidance: https://www.scribd.com/document/452553026/UPDATED-11-45am-April-28-2020-Industry-Operation-Guidance
Updated life sustaining business FAQ: https://www.scribd.com/document/452553495/UPDATED-2-15-PM-April-27-2020-Life-Sustaining-Business-FAQs
Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency To Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public
This consolidated guidance issued by the Pa. Department of Health (Pa. DOH) describes procedures businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations in “yellow phase” counties reopening May 8. Requirements include a workplace notice, designation of a Pandemic Safety Officer and a plan for responding to workplace exposure incidents. A link is provided below with recommendations on how the business closure order is to be enforced. The guidance indicates, “…local political units are not required to follow the Secretary’s building and business safety orders; however, they are advised to implement the protocols that it outlines to the extent practicable.”
Press release: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-provides-business-guidance-as-counties-move-to-yellow-phase-on-may-8/
Consolidated guidance: https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200504-COVID-19-Business-Guidance.pdf
Workplace notice: https://www.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-Reopening-Businesses-Flyer-8-5×11-1.pdf
Enforcement guidance: https://www.psp.pa.gov/Documents/Public%20Documents/Letter%20LEO%20Community.pdf
First Responders and Law Enforcement
The CDC has consolidated its police, fire and EMS COVID-19 guidance. The updated webpage contains updated links addressing cleaning and disinfection practices (updated 4/28/20) and frequently asked questions (updated 4/27/20).
What to Do if Your Pet Tests Positive for COVID-19 Virus
Although the CDC considers the risk of COVID-19 animal to human infection low, animals including pet cats and dogs are vulnerable to the virus. Accordingly, the CDC has issued guidance on how to protect pets and their owners.
Stretching PPE Supplies
This CDC guidance updates prior recommendations for optimizing limited personal protective equipment supplies.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
The CDC updated its COVID-19 FAQs to reflect recent developments with respect to isolation release criteria, cleaning and disinfection practices and pet exposures.
General Business Frequently Asked Questions
The CDC updated its General Business FAQs to reflect recent developments in return-to-work criteria and updated facility cleaning and disinfection practices.
Recommended cleaning and disinfection procedures for various surfaces: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
Flow chart to guide cleaning and disinfection decisions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/pdf/ReOpening_America_Cleaning_Disinfection_Decision_Tool.pdf
Cleaning and Disinfection for Households
The CDC updated its recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting of households where persons under investigation or those with confirmed COVID-19 live or are self-isolating.
Of special interest is guidance for electronic devices, including the use of wipeable covers.
FEMA Exercise Starter Kit for Workshop on Reconstituting Operations
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a workshop template designed to help organizations plan for the reopening of idled operations. The Exercise Starter Kit includes a sample facilitator guide and customizable PowerPoint slides.
The discussion questions focus on four themes: People, Facilities, Messaging and Communications, and Resources and Logistics. The intended end product of the workshop is a practical reconstitution plan specific to the organization.
Factors to Consider When Planning to Purchase Respirators from Another Country
(Last reviewed: 5/11/20)
Domestic shortages of respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have resulted in public employers purchasing respirators from foreign suppliers which have not been vetted by NIOSH. Some of the alternate equipment has been found to underperform when compared to NIOSH-approved equipment. This has recently lead to respirator recalls by public health authorities in Illinois and Missouri. On this webpage the CDC offers guidance for those looking to purchase respirators which lack NIOSH approval. Also provided are tips for spotting counterfeit respirators.
Guidelines for purchasing non-U.S. respirators: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/international-respirator-purchase.html
Guidelines for spotting counterfeit respirators: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/counterfeitResp.html
When to Wear Gloves
(Last reviewed: 5/9/20)
The CDC has not recommended that impermeable gloves be worn as a general public health precaution against the COVID-19 virus. Frequent hand washing or use of minimum 60% alcohol hand sanitizer is the preferred infection control method to minimize dermal exposures. There are situations, however, when impermeable gloves should be worn. This CDC guidance reviews the activities for which use of impermeable gloves is recommended (e.g., cleaning and disinfection, caring for someone who is sick and in certain occupational settings).
What Waste Collectors and Recyclers Need to Know about COVID-19
(Last reviewed: 5/7/20)
In this guidance, the CDC summarizes current infection control recommendations for sanitation employees. Practical precautions to minimize employee exposures to infected individuals continue to be emphasized.
Schools and Child Care Programs
(Last reviewed: 5/7/20)
This CDC webpage provides practical infection control guidelines applicable to municipal day care operations.
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
This updated CDC guidance is intended to aid employers looking to resume normal or phased operations. Guidelines for conducting optional daily employee health checks including temperature monitoring are also presented.
Updated business and employer guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM28083
Guidance for conducting employee health screenings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html
(See the Frequently Asked Question: Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 in Workplaces – Should we be screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms (such as temperature checks)? What is the best way to do that?)
Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
(Last reviewed: 5/5/20)
The CDC offers practical recommendations for how general employees can practice emotional self-care during the outbreak.
Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
(Last reviewed: 5/5/20)
The CDC offers practical recommendations for how healthcare workers and first responders can practice emotional self-care during the outbreak.
FBI Criminal History Background Check Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Pa. Department of Human Services posted an updated FAQ which offers guidance on obtaining Pa. CPSL-mandated FBI criminal history certifications during the COVID-19 crisis. Select IdentoGO fingerprint scanning locations are reportedly open for business. A mobile option is also available for employers requiring scans for groups of 20 or more.
(Credit to the Pa. Recreation and Park Society for “scooping” this document.)
Guidelines for Reopening America
This CDC guidance provides recommendations on reopening, including specific guidelines applicable to child care programs, day camps, and restaurants and bars.
Child Care Programs – See Page 38
Schools and Day Camps – See Page 42
Restaurants and Bars – See Page 49
For Parents: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19
This CDC guidance is intended to educate parents on a serious condition in children associated with COVID-19 infection.
Summer Recreation, Camps and Pools
This Pa. Department of Health guidance provides operational recommendations for summer recreation, camps and pools in yellow and green phase counties.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Referenced CDC Document:
Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
(Last Reviewed: 5/23/20)
This CDC guidance provides current recommendations for using cloth face coverings. These are especially important to prevent the spread of the virus by infected but asymptomatic individuals.
Interim Guidelines for COVID-19 Antibody Testing
(Last Reviewed: 5/23/20)
This CDC guidance addresses the benefits and limitations of antibody testing.
When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19
(Last Reviewed: 5/24/20)
This CDC guidance provides current recommendations for when it is safe for individuals who have been ill with COVID-19 to be around others. It addresses several exposure scenarios.
If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone
(Last Reviewed: 5/24/20)
This CDC guidance provides current recommendations for taking care of yourself or others who are ill with COVID-19.
Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19
(Last Reviewed: 5/27/20)
This CDC guidance provides current recommendations for infection prevention and response at public pools and other aquatic venues.
Updated Guidance for Food and Beverage Services in Yellow and Green Phase Counties
New orders issued by Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine include actionable guidance for outdoor dining establishments in Yellow and Green Phase counties.
Press Release: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-issues-updated-green-phase-order-guidance-on-dining-and-professional-sports/
Governor’s Order: https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200527-TWW-green-phase-order.pdf
Secretary of Health’s Order: https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200527-SOH-Green-Phase-Order.pdf