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The TEXAN’s guide to CDC tips on planning and preparedness for COVID-19

March 13th, 2020 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

The TEXAN’s guide to CDC tips on planning and preparedness for COVID-19

The following is adapted from the CDC’s “Prevention/Planning Guidance for Churches and Ministries” link to guidelines for faith-based organizations and available on the GuideStone website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/guidance-community-faith-organizations.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-community-faith-organizations.html.

PLAN

Update existing emergency operations plans. Determine who is responsible for coordinating this plan and review all aspects: personnel, systems, services. Prepare for prevention strategies.

Consider the needs of older adults, persons with disabilities and people with access and functional needs.

Establish relationships with community partners, including the local health department, other community and faith leaders, businesses and schools.

Identify services which might be limited or temporarily discontinued during an outbreak. Find alternative solutions that will ensure continuity for your community, especially for vulnerable populations.

Promote the practice of everyday preventive actions.

Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at your church for staff, volunteers and those you serve: soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, trash baskets and disposable facemasks for those who become ill at church.

Plan for absences. Plan for alternate coverage of responsibilities by staff members and volunteers should some become ill. 

Develop a method for monitoring and tracking COVID-19-related staff absences. 

Identify spaces or even restroom facilities that can be used to separate sick people.

Plan ways to limit face-to-face contact between people at your organization. 

Review your process for planning events, programs, and services. Identify actions necessary if you must postpone or cancel events, programs and services. 

Plan ways to continue essential services if on-site operations are scaled back temporarily. 

Update your emergency communication plan for distributing timely and accurate information. Maintain up-to-date contact information for everyone in the chain of communication.

ACT

Establish a “buddy” system to ensure vulnerable and hard-to-reach community members stay connected to COVID-19 related news and services.

Meet regularly with your emergency operations planning team, even if it is by telephone or video conference. 

Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation from local public health officials. Be aware of school dismissals and closures.

Communicate frequently with those in your communication chain. Update community partners regularly. Share information about how your organization is responding to the outbreak.

Provide information that explains why and when on-site operations and services may be temporarily scaled back. Make plans for canceling large group activities and events, especially for high-risk groups like the elderly.

Distribute health messages and materials to staff, volunteers and community. Continue to promote everyday preventive actions. 

Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies to staff, volunteers, and those you serve. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs and cabinet handles) using a regular detergent and water.