COVID 19 and Hurricane Response

Every single hurricane-prone state is deeply involved in the COVID 19 response. The hurricane season begins June 1. My question to Emergency Managers: when we have a major hurricane response, how will COVID issues affect the utilization of Responder Support Camps (RSC)?

If we make the assumption that the cure for the virus or an immunization has not been found by the time we need to open RSCs, social distancing must be incorporated into all aspects of the facility. How will social distancing impact congregate sleeping and congregate feeding, and thus affect RSC requirements?

  • Will there need to be an increase in square footage for sleeping? Currently the average is 65 square feet. What would be an acceptable space?
  • Should partitioning of sleeping areas be preferred, or required?
  • Should smaller tents with less occupants be used or are larger tents with more space between individuals to be preferred?
  • Would there be a preference for hard sided solutions? Or utilization of hotels with some additional services? If hotels, what would those services be?
  • Will RSCs need to have a smaller ratio of persons per shower head or toilets? Currently it is 1:10 for showers and 1:20 for toilets.
  • Standard cleaning of ablution facilities (showers, toilets, sinks) is twice per day, usually after the morning shower rush and at the end of the evening. Should occur more often during the day? Are there any recommendations in cleaning of facilities?
  • What about decontamination stations? Are they worth doing? What kind decontamination are we going to recommend?
  • We can make the assumption that masks should be worn by individuals that have been exposed to the virus.  Masks have now been encouraged for anyone that can’t maintain 6-foot social distancing. Should PPE such as masks be worn at all times?
  • Laundry Services can be provided in two ways: self-service and/or fluff and fold. Is there an advantage to self-service over a turn in and a fluff and fold?
  • For feeding, should we continue congregate feeding? Would this entail more space in the Dining Facility (DFAC)? Or should we eliminate congregate feeding entirely and shift to individual meals wrapped and delivered to residents?
  • What kind of Covid 19 Medical screening should we do in RSC’s?
  • Are there other issues that need to be discussed?

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