Covid-19 Info

Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities (GUIDANCE FOR TREE PLANTING GATHERINGS)

Compiled by FEED, this guide is intended to suggest protective measures for yourself and your community to prevent getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. It is by no means comprehensive and everyone is encouraged to seek official guidance from national, regional, and international agencies who produce the latest data and guidance on prevention to slow the transmission of COVID-19, reduce illness and death, while minimizing social and economic impacts.

LARGE COMMUNITY EVENTS & MASS GATHERINGS
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. People who are at higher risk are encouraged to avoid crowds as much as possible. Find more information here (CDC) or from your trusted local health and emergency response authorities.

1. INTERIM GUIDANCE

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID- 19).

A mass gathering is a planned or spontaneous event with a large number of people in attendance that could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event, such as concerts, festivals, conferences, worship services, and sporting events.
COVID-19 is an emerging respiratory disease and there is more to learn about its transmission, clinical course, and populations at increased risk of disease and complications (see How COVID-19 Spreads). Everyone can do their part to help plan, prepare, and respond to this emerging public health threat.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, event organizers and planners are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of outbreaks in their communities. Creating an emergency plan for mass gatherings and large community events can help protect you and the health of your event participants and local community. CDC has developed recommended actions for preventing the spread of COVID-19 at mass gatherings and large community events.

Before a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community: Plan
A COVID-19 outbreak could last for a long time. Depending on the severity of the outbreak, public health officials may recommend community actions designed to limit exposure to COVID-19. Officials may ask you to modify, postpone, or cancel large events for the safety and well-being of your event staff, participants, and the community. The details of your emergency operations plan should be based on the size and duration of your events, demographics of the participants, complexity of your event operations, and type of on-site services and activities your event may offer.

Review the existing emergency operations plans for your venues

Meet with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team at your venues. Discuss the emergency operations plans and determine how they may impact aspects of your events, such as personnel, security, services and activities, functions, and resources. Work with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team to prepare for the key prevention strategies outlined in this guidance. Develop a contingency plan that addresses various scenarios described below which you may encounter during a COVID-19 outbreak.

Establish relationships with key community partners and stakeholders. When forming key relationships for your events, include relevant partners such as the local public health department, community leaders, faith-based organizations, vendors, suppliers, hospitals, hotels, airlines, transportation companies, and law enforcement. Collaborate and coordinate with them on broader planning efforts. Clearly identify each partner’s role, responsibilities, and decision-making authority. Contact your local public health department for a copy of their outbreak response and mitigation plan for your community. Participate in community-wide emergency preparedness activities.

Address key prevention strategies in your emergency operations plan
Promote the daily practice of everyday preventive actions.Use health messages and materials developed by credible public health sources such as your local public health department or CDC to encourage your event staff and participants to practice good personal health habits. Promote everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
  • Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at your events. Plan to have extra supplies on hand for event staff and participants, including sinks with soap, hand sanitizers, tissues, and disposable facemasks (for persons who start having symptoms).
  • Face masks should be kept on-site and used only if someone (worker or attendee) becomes sick at your event. Those who become sick should be immediately isolated from staff and participants who are not sick and given a clean disposable facemask to wear.
  • Plan for staff absences. Develop flexible attendance and sick-leave policies. Event staff need to stay home when they are sick, or they may need to stay home to care for a sick household member or care for their children in the event of school dismissals. Identify critical job functions and positions and plan for alternative coverage by cross-training staff (similar to planning for holiday staffing).\
  • Promote messages that discourage people who are sick from attending events. This should include messages requesting that people leave events if they begin to have symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. They should seek medical advice promptly by calling ahead to a doctor’s office or emergency room to get guidance. See CDC guidance on what to do when sick with COVID-19.
    If possible, identify a space that can be used to isolate staff or participants who become ill at the event. Designate a space for staff and participants who may become sick and cannot leave the event immediately. Work with partners, such as local hospitals, to create a plan for treating staff and participants who do not live nearby. Include a plan for separating and caring for vulnerable populations.
  • Plan ways to limit in-person contact for staff supporting your events. Several ways to do this include offering staff the option to telework if they can perform their job duties off-site, using email, and conducting meetings by phone or video conferencing. Reduce the number of staff needed such as staggering shifts for staff who support essential functions and services during events.
  • Develop flexible refund policies for participants. Create refund policies that permit participants the flexibility to stay home when they are sick, need to care for sick household members, or are at high risk for complications from COVID-19.
  • Identify actions to take if you need to postpone or cancel events. Work closely with local public health officials to assess local capacities in the area. During a COVID-19 outbreak, resource limitations among local healthcare systems and/or law enforcement can influence the decision to postpone or cancel your events. If possible, plan alternative ways for participants to enjoy the events by television, radio, or online.

Communicate about COVID-19
Update and distribute timely and accurate emergency communication information. Identify everyone in your chain of communication (for example, event staff, participants, suppliers, vendors, and key community partners and stakeholders) and establish systems for sharing information with them. Maintain up-to-date contact information for everyone in the chain of communication. Identify platforms, such as a hotline, automated text messaging, and a website to help disseminate information.

Identify and address potential language, cultural, and disability barriers associated with communicating COVID-19 information to event staff and participants. Information you share should be easily understood by everyone attending the events. Learn more about reaching people of diverse languages and cultures by visiting: Know Your Audience.

2. DURING A COVID-19 OUTBREAK: ACT

During an outbreak in your community, public health officials may provide event organizers with guidance intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Meet regularly with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team at the venue. They are positioned to accurately assess, manage, and communicate possible risks. Early action to slow the spread of COVID-19 will help keep event staff, participants, and the community healthy.

Put your emergency operations and communication plans into action

Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation. Get up-to-date information about local COVID-19 activity from public health officials. Be aware of temporary school dismissals in your area because these may affect event staff.

Note: Early in the outbreak, local public health officials may recommend schools dismiss temporarily.

Communicate frequently with those in your communication chain. Update key community partners and stakeholders regularly. Share information about how you and the emergency operations coordinator or planning team for the venues are responding to the outbreak.

Distribute health messages about COVID-19 to event staff and participants. Continue to promote everyday preventive actions. Offer resources to event staff and participants that provide reliable COVID- 19 information. Address the potential fear and anxiety that may result from rumors or misinformation.

Note: Use culturally appropriate messages, materials, and resources.

Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies to event staff and participants. Ensure that your events have supplies for event staff and participants, such as hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, disposable facemasks, and cleaners and disinfectants. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects with detergent and water prior to disinfection, especially surfaces that are visibly dirty.

In the absence of a similar guide in the Philippines, we have again consulted the CDC for guidance on disinfection, review this list of products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claim, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC). Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. Please check your local authorities for the latest list.

Consider alternatives for event staff and participants who are at high risk for complications from COVID- 19. Currently, older adults and persons with underlying health conditions are considered to be at increased risk for severe illness and complications from COVID-19. Event organizers can consider reassigning duties for high-risk staff to have minimal contact with other persons. People in high-risk groups should consult with their healthcare provider about attending large events. Consider providing refunds to event participants who are unable to attend because they are at high risk and/or provide information on alternative viewing options.
Implement flexible staff attendance and sick-leave policies (if possible). Require staff to stay home if they are sick or caring for a sick household member. Allow staff to work from home when possible. Notify staff when you plan to implement COVID-19 leave policies. Provide instructions about how and when to safely return to work.

Note: Consider asking staff who get sick with COVID-19 symptoms to avoid contact with others and to seek medical advice.

Separate those who become sick at your event from those who are well. Establish procedures to help sick staff or participants leave the event as soon as possible. If any staff member or participant becomes sick at your event, separate them from others as soon as possible. Provide them with clean, disposable facemasks to wear, if available. Work with the local public health department and nearby hospitals to care for those who become sick. If needed, contact emergency services for those who need emergency care. Public transportation, shared rides, and taxis should be avoided for sick persons, and disposable facemasks should be worn by persons who are sick at all times when in a vehicle. Read more about preventing the spread of COVID-19 if someone is sick.

Note: Providing a sick staff member or event participant with a disposable facemask to wear does not replace the need for that person to leave as soon as possible, stay home, and seek medical advice. Wearing a disposable facemask in the workplace or while participating in a large event is not a sufficient infection control measure.

Determine the need to postpone or cancel your events
Put into action strategies for postponing or canceling your events. Work closely with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team for your venues and with local public health officials to discuss the criteria you will use to postpone or cancel your event(s). Immediately alert event staff and participants if your event(s) has been postponed or canceled and inform them of your COVID-19 outbreak (or emergency) refund policy and re-ticketing options.

Update everyone in your communication chain about when your events will occur if postponed or canceled. Let event participants know whether new tickets can be obtained and when.

3. AFTER A COVID-19 OUTBREAK HAS ENDED IN YOUR COMMUNITY: FOLLOW UP
Remember, a COVID-19 outbreak could last for a long time. When public health officials determine that the outbreak has ended in your local community, work with them to identify criteria for scaling back COVID-19 prevention actions at your events. Base the criteria on slowing of the outbreak in your local area. If your events were cancelled, work with your venues to reschedule your events.

Evaluate the effectiveness your emergency operations and communication plans
Meet with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team for your venues to discuss and note lessons learned. Gather feedback from event staff, participants (if possible), community partners, and stakeholders to improve plans. Identify any gaps in the plans and any needs you may have for additional resources.

Maintain and expand your planning team. Look for ways to expand community partnerships. Identify agencies or partners needed to help you prepare for infectious disease outbreaks in the future and try to add them to your planning team.
Participate in community-wide emergency preparedness activities.

Source adapted by FEED: Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Accessed: 2 February 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.php

QUICK CHECKLIST FOR COMMUNITY LEADERS

Community organizations are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in their communities. Use this checklist to protect the health of those you serve and staff in your care.

Plan and Prepare

  1. Update your emergency operations plan with the help of your local public health department, emergency operations coordinator or planning team, and other relevant partners to include COVID-19 planning.
  2. Identify space that can be used to separate sick people if needed.
  3. Develop an emergency communication plan for distributing timely and accurate information to workers and those you serve.
  4. Identify actions to take if you need to temporarily postpone or cancel events, programs, and services, especially for groups at greater risk such as older adults or people with chronic health conditions.
  5. Promote the practice of everyday preventative actions.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when sick.

6.  Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at your organization (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, and a couple of disposable facemasks, just in case someone becomes sick during an event).

7. Plan for staff absences by developing flexible attendance and sick-leave policies, plan for alternative coverage, and monitor and track COVID-19 related staff absences.

8. Engage with stigmatized groups and speak out against negative behaviors to help counter stigma and discrimination.

Take Action
If there is COVID-19 in your community:
1. Stay informed about local COVID-19 information and updates.
2. Put your emergency operations and communication plans into action.
3. Communicate with your community members if events and services are changed, postponed, or
cancelled.
4. Emphasize everyday preventive actions through intensified communications with employees and visitors to your organization.
• Stay home when sick.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
• Wash hands often.
• Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).
5. During an event, if someone becomes sick separate them into an isolated room and ask them to leave as soon as possible.
Source adapted by FEED: Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Accessed: 2 February 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.php

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT – CODE LEVEL ALERT SYSTEM

Source: One News, Accessed 8 March 2020. https://www.onenews.ph/under-code-red-pinoys-asked-to-cooperate-in-containing-spread-of-covid-19

DOH DESIGNATED HOTLINE

All individuals presenting with fever and/or respiratory symptoms with history of travel and exposure are also urged to get in touch with DOH and call the designated hotline at (02)8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for appropriate management and referral.

© Fostering Education and Environment for Development, Inc. (“FEED”)