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.
Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation
(Updated: September 22, 2020)
The CDC updated its guidance on managing buildings with limited occupancy due to the COVID-19 emergency. Hazard addressed include mold, Legionella, and lead and copper contamination.
How COVID-19 Spreads
(Updated: October 5, 2020)
This update from the CDC recognizes recent data suggesting COVID-19 may spread via aerosols in addition to droplets. While infectious droplets remain airborne for shorter times and have a shorter dispersal path, aerosols in comparison can potentially travel beyond six feet and may remain in the air for several hours after an infected individual has left the area. Although this revelation has not changed the agency’s fundamental infection control recommendations, the CDC advises to avoid enclosed spaces that have inadequate ventilation and when the infected person was breathing heavily, such as when singing or exercising.
News release: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s1005-how-spread-covd.html
Updated infection control recommendations webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html
NCIRD Science brief: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-sars-cov-2.html
[DVT Risk Control Department Comment: In situations when individuals are required to work in high risk COVID-19 spaces, it is recommended that they utilize NIOSH-approved respiratory protection equipment when available, such as an N-95 or better-rated air-purifying respirator. Eye protection such as glasses, safety glasses, goggles or face shields are also recommended to prevent infectious particles gaining access via the eyes. Increasing ventilation to the space prior to entry can also be helpful in reducing infectious particle concentrations. When practical, operate HVAC systems in “purge mode” (i.e., 100% fresh air in), open windows or utilize fans to exhaust the space prior to entering. Move air from clean areas through contaminated areas and then exhaust to the outside. Direct potentially contaminated exhaust air away from areas where others are present.]
COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses
(Updated: October 6, 2020)
The Pa. DOH updated its business occupancy guidelines, including new occupancy limits for outdoor events. A maximum occupancy calculator has been developed to aid with management decision making.
Maximum Occupancy Calculator: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Event-Occupancy.aspx
COVID-19 Information for Travelers
(Updated October 9, 2020)
The Pa. Department of Health updated its list of states where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases. It is recommended that travelers to these locations quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Pennsylvania.
Trick or Treating and Other Halloween Activities
(Updated: October 9, 2020)
This updated CDC guidance provides recommendations for how to protect yourself and dependents from COVID-19 during upcoming Halloween festivities.
(Updated: October 12, 2020)
The CDC has added education resources to its website for printing, posting or electronic distribution in various settings impacted by COVID-19.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Information for Sanitation and Wastewater Workers on COVID-19
This CDC guidance describes current infection prevention recommendations for employees who handle solid waste and wastewater. Included are current PPE recommendations for those who may contact human waste or wastewater (recommendations excerpted below):
The following PPE is recommended for workers handling human waste or sewage:
- Goggles: to protect eyes from splashes of human waste or sewage.
- Protective face mask or splash-proof face shield: to protect nose and mouth from splashes of human waste or sewage.
- Liquid-repellent coveralls: to keep human waste or sewage off clothing.
- Waterproof gloves: to prevent exposure to human waste or sewage.
- Rubber boots: to prevent exposure to human waste or sewage.
This resource from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency is geared toward leaders of local government agencies and small businesses. It offers practical guidance on where to start implementing organizational cybersecurity controls.
Employers with Workers at High Risk
This CDC guidance offers current recommendations for protecting especially vulnerable workers, such as those with underlying medical conditions, from COVID-19.
Child Care Programs
This CDC guidance provides current recommendations for COVID-19 infection prevention and response in childcare settings.
Infection Prevention Postings
This CDC resource provides infection prevention postings for use in the workplaces, schools, homes and commercial establishments.
Pets and Other Animals
This resource summarizes current CDC recommendations for protecting pets and their owners from COVID-19.
People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions
This resource offers current CDC recommendations for protecting vulnerable populations, such as immunocompromised and pregnant individuals, from COVID-19.
If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, or Caring for Young Children
(Updated: June 25, 2020)
This CDC guidance provides updated COVID-19 infection prevention and response recommendations for expecting and new parents.
Considerations for Restaurants and Bars
(Updated: June 30, 2020)
This CDC guidance provides updated COVID-19 infection prevention and response recommendations applicable to food and drink serving establishments.
Order of the Secretary of the Pa. Department of Health Requiring Universal Face Coverings
(Issued: July 1, 2020)
This order from the Pa. Department of Health specifies the circumstances when cloth face coverings are mandatory as well as the exemptions when they are not.
People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions
(Updated: July 2, 2020)
This CDC guidance provides updated infection prevention recommendations for groups at higher risk of the COVID-19 virus.
Quarantine If You Might Be Sick
(Updated: July 3, 2020)
This updated CDC guidance reviews recommended quarantine practices applicable to non-essential employees and volunteers who may have experienced a significant COVID-19 exposure event.
[Note: Essential employees and volunteers should continue to follow the post-exposure response recommendations issued by the Pa. DOH and CDC.]
(Updated July 5, 2020)
This updated CDC guidance provides a library of COVID-19 infection prevention and response notices intended to educate various populations on prudent public health practices.
Examples of U.S. CDC Public Health Notices include:
Parks and Playgrounds: