Who this steerage is for: Federal, state, native, and tribal jurisdictions within the United States contemplating opening or working cooling facilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purpose: This doc gives interim steerage to scale back the danger of introducing and transmitting SARS COV-2 (the agent chargeable for inflicting COVID-19 illness) in cooling facilities. It must be used at the side of present cooling heart operation and administration plans, procedures, steerage, assets, and techniques.
This interim steerage relies on what’s presently identified in regards to the transmission and severity of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19).
Extreme warmth is a serious public well being concern within the United States. Exposure to excessive warmth could cause a wide range of well being issues, together with warmth stroke and demise. Cooling facilities (a cool website or air-conditioned facility designed to offer aid and safety throughout excessive warmth) are utilized by many communities to guard well being throughout warmth occasions. However, the usage of cooling facilities can lead to congregating of teams of at-risk individuals, similar to older adults or these with respiratory ailments, and probably present a route for the transmission of the SARS COV-2 virus and subsequent growth of COVID-19 illness amongst each guests and employees.
Considerations and Potential Intervention Strategies
Consider implementing or increasing packages that present utility help, such because the low-income residence vitality help program (LIHEAP) or related strategies that present monetary help for residence air conditioner use. A short lived ban on utility shut-offs throughout warmth waves would permit individuals to proceed utilizing residence air con. This technique may decrease the variety of individuals using cooling facilities.
Staff and Volunteers
Plan for employees and volunteer absences. Develop flexible attendance and sick-leave policies. Staff (and volunteers) might have to remain residence when they’re sick, caring for a sick family member, or caring for his or her youngsters throughout college dismissals. Identify vital job capabilities and positions, and plan for different protection by cross-training cooling heart employees.
Screening and Alternative Sites for Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Individuals
If assets can be found, contemplate implementing verbal screening or temperature checks earlier than admitting guests to the cooling heart. If doable, present different cooling websites for these displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, shortness of breath). This could also be separate rooms inside cooling facilities or an area that can be utilized to accommodate guests with signs and separate them from others. Designate an alternate website, or a separate room and toilet (if out there) for guests with gentle sickness who stay on the cooling heart. Be ready to contact emergency officers (name 911) within the case of extreme sickness requiring medical help.
Maintain social (bodily) distancing inside cooling facilities, ideally no less than six toes between people. Consider separation of furnishings and creating areas for particular person household models (households who stay collectively don’t want to keep up bodily distancing in a cooling heart). In bigger cooling heart amenities, it could be doable to offer ample area for social distancing amongst guests. Smaller cooling facilities can restrict the variety of guests, in accordance with native tips that restrict the scale of gatherings. This may decrease capability, so contemplate establishing a larger variety of smaller cooling facilities. If an absence of potential cooling heart websites arises, emergency options similar to utilizing parked air-conditioned buses could be utilized. Communities can also companion with closed companies, similar to film theaters, as different cooling websites.
It is probably not doable to find cooling facilities in buildings with excessive air flow capability much like healthcare amenities. If doable cooling facilities must be geared up with air exchange systems, and be positioned in buildings with tall ceilings. Utilize the very best effectivity filters which are appropriate with the cooling heart’s present HVAC system, and undertake “clean-to-dirty” directional airflows. If assets permit, ceiling followers with upward airflow rotation mixed with upper-air ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) disinfection techniques could be utilized. When circumstances permit (low humidity), shaded out of doors areas with cross-draft airflow augmented by evaporative coolers could present a safer different.
Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cleaning and disinfection guidelines for community facilities, and cleaning facilities if someone is sick. Because even people with no signs can nonetheless transmit the virus, and the virus can survive for a number of days on non-porous surfaces, it is very important proceed routine cleansing and disinfection (on daily basis if doable) with a deal with excessive contact surfaces, together with these in frequent areas and loos.
Enhance communication about COVID-19 onsite. Use well being messages and supplies developed by credible public well being sources, similar to your native and state public well being departments or CDC. Read extra about everyday preventive actions. Share or submit COVID-19 posters and CDC Fact Sheets and hold your guests knowledgeable about public well being suggestions to stop illness unfold. Messaging could embrace:
- Posting indicators at entrances and in strategic locations offering instruction readily available hygiene, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and fabric face coverings.
- Providing academic supplies about COVID-19 for non-English audio system, as wanted.
- Encouraging sick employees and volunteers to remain residence (or be despatched residence in the event that they develop signs whereas on the facility), to stop transmitting the an infection to others.
Identify and handle potential language, cultural, and incapacity limitations related to speaking COVID-19 info to employees, volunteers, and people visiting cooling facilities. Learn extra about reaching people of diverse languages and cultures.
If out there, present COVID-19 prevention provides onsite at cooling facilities. Have provides readily available for employees, volunteers, and guests, similar to cleaning soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers that comprise no less than 60% alcohol, tissues, and trash baskets. Visitors and employees ought to put on a cloth face covering, or if provides can be found, be given a clear disposable facemaskpdf icon, even when they aren’t displaying any signs. Cloth face coverings shouldn’t be positioned on younger youngsters underneath age 2, anybody who has hassle respiration, or is unconscious, incapacitated or in any other case unable to take away the masks with out help. Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to assist cease the unfold on the entrance to the ability, at sinks in restrooms, and in different areas the place they’re more likely to be seen. If water bottles are distributed on the cooling heart, guarantee guests to not share bottles or glasses.