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This interim steerage is predicated on present details about the transmission and severity of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19).  The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) will replace this steerage as wanted and as extra info turns into accessible. Please examine the CDC COVID-19 web site periodically for up to date steerage. As a result of circumstances fluctuate from group to group, catastrophe shelter managers ought to look to their state and native well being officers for info particular to their location.

  • Alternate options to opening catastrophe shelters, comparable to sheltering in place, must be thought of through the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Accommodations/dormitories and small shelters (fewer than 50 residents) must be prioritized over bigger shelters. Massive congregate shelters must be a final resort.
  • Officers ought to demobilize giant congregate shelters as quickly as attainable after the emergency part and relocate residents to lodges/dormitories or small shelters for higher social distancing.
  • Shelter managers ought to keep contact with state and native public well being businesses and emergency administration for updates on native COVID-19 info.
  • Shelter well being workers ought to monitor residents every day for signs of COVID-19 and different sickness, together with psychological well being considerations, and supply a every day standing replace to the native well being division and different related businesses. View assets on every day life and coping .
  • Physique temperature monitoring must be carried out for all individuals coming into the shelter and in meals distribution areas.
  • Shelters ought to present separate areas, together with restrooms, to isolate residents with signs of COVID-19.
  • Shelter workers and residents ought to put on a masks always besides when not sensible, comparable to when consuming or showering. NOTE: Masks shouldn’t be positioned on infants or youngsters youthful than 2 years of age or anybody who has bother respiratory or is unconscious, incapacitated or in any other case unable to take away the overlaying with out help.
  • All shelter residents, even these with out signs, might have been uncovered to COVID-19 and will self- quarantine after leaving the shelter in accordance with state and native suggestions.
  • If testing for COVID-19 is obtainable, shelter workers, volunteers, and residents must be examined in accordance with state and native well being division tips.

Throughout disasters, useful resource availability might restrict the flexibility to use this steerage. Finest efforts must be made to implement this steerage to the extent attainable.


This doc is meant to be used by federal, state, native, and tribal jurisdictions in the US. It must be used along side present shelter operation and administration plans, procedures, steerage, assets, and programs, and isn’t an alternative choice to shelter planning and preparedness actions.


This doc supplies interim steerage to cut back the chance of introducing and transmitting COVID-19 on the whole inhabitants catastrophe shelters earlier than, throughout, or after a catastrophe.

For the needs of this doc, “shelters” embody small-, medium- and large-scale, organized, and short-term lodging for individuals displaced by disasters. Amenities could also be residential (e.g., dormitories, campsites) or non-residential (e.g., sports activities stadiums, faculties, church buildings), with various levels of sanitary infrastructure.

Normal inhabitants emergency shelters

People housed in shelters share dwelling areas and sanitary services and could also be uncovered to crowded circumstances. Emergency managers, shelter coordinators/managers, and public well being professionals ought to perceive the chance of introduction and subsequent transmission of COVID-19 and different infectious illnesses in these settings. These suggestions had been developed to help shelter workers in taking applicable actions for decreasing the potential of transmission amongst shelter workers, volunteers, residents, and guests.

Individuals who must take further precautions

View extra info for teams who must take further precautions.

Individuals at greater threat for extreme sickness from COVID-19 might embody:

  • Individuals 65 years or older
  • Individuals of any age with critical underlying medical circumstances together with power lung illness, critical coronary heart circumstances, and diabetes. See CDC’s web site for a whole record of individuals at greater threat, and examine repeatedly for updates as extra information change into accessible.
  • Increased threat shelter residents must be prioritized for COVID-19 testing and private protecting gear if assets can be found however restricted.
  • Some workers and volunteers could also be at greater threat for extreme sickness. Plan for various staffing assets to exchange excessive threat workers and volunteers through the COVID-19 Contemplate pre-deployment of extra healthcare employees and psychological well being personnel to shelters.

Different individuals who might must take further precautions embody:

  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding moms
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Racial and ethnic minority teams

Screening, monitoring, and isolation

Shelters ought to monitor and file attainable COVID-19 circumstances and carry out periodic assessments of all shelter insurance policies and procedures associated to reducing transmission on COVID-19 (e.g. isolation space, social distancing, meal service, cleansing, disinfection). Case numbers must be shared with native public well being officers every day to alert them to growing numbers.

Consumption space and ready room

Present handwashing stations or alcohol-based hand sanitizer that incorporates a minimum of 60% alcohol, tissues, and wastebaskets. See extra info on CDC’s handwashing suggestions.

  • Make the most of skilled medical or healthcare workers to conduct medical screening.
  • Present extra personnel for medical screening to lower consumption time.
  • Employees who’re checking shopper temperatures ought to use a system that creates a bodily barrier between the shopper and the screener.
    • Screeners ought to stand behind a bodily barrier, comparable to a glass or plastic window or partition that may shield the workers member’s face from respiratory droplets that could be produced if the shopper sneezes, coughs, or talks.
    • If social distancing or barrier/partition controls can’t be put in place throughout screening, screeners ought to use PPE (i.e., facemask, eye safety [goggles or disposable face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face], a single pair of disposable gloves) when inside 6 ft of a shopper.
    • Nevertheless, given PPE shortages, coaching necessities, and since PPE alone is much less efficient than a barrier, workers ought to attempt to use a barrier every time attainable.
  • Conduct thorough cleansing and disinfection of the world each 4-6 hours. See extra info on CDC’s entry screening

See extra info on CDC’s entry screening suggestions.

Isolation space

Discontinuation of isolation

The choice to discontinue isolation must be made within the context of native circumstances. Choices embody:

  • A symptom-based technique (i.e., time since sickness onset and time since restoration)
  • A test-based technique
  • Time-based and test-based methods for individuals who examined constructive for COVID-19 however didn’t expertise signs.

For added info please consult with the CDC interim steerage Discontinuation of Isolation for Individuals with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings, which incorporates, however is just not restricted to, at house, in a resort or dormitory room, or in group isolation facility.

Data in all frequent areas of the shelter

  • Submit signage all through the ability on:
    • Widespread signs of COVID-19
    • Significance of sporting a masks
    • The necessity to observe frequent handwashing and correct respiratory etiquette
    • Reporting signs to shelter workers in the event that they really feel ailing
    • Reminding workers to scrub their fingers with cleaning soap and water after touching somebody who’s sick or dealing with a sick particular person’s private results, used tissues, or laundry
    • Dealing with stress

Guarantee signage is comprehensible for non-English talking individuals and people with low literacy. Make obligatory lodging for these with cognitive or mental disabilities and those that are deaf, blind, or with low imaginative and prescient.

CDC print supplies developed to assist COVID-19 suggestions can be found and free for obtain.

Social distancing

  • When attainable, place teams or households in particular person rooms or in separate areas of the ability.
  • Shelter facility must be giant sufficient to supply house for distancing amongst residents.
  • Present a distance of a minimum of 6 ft between cots of individuals from completely different households and have residents sleep head-to-toe.

Meals service

Elevated use of provides

Plan for a big enhance in use of provides together with:

  • Masks, robes, and gloves
  • Masks
  • Water and different fluids for hydration
  • Ice
  • Cups and different utensils
  • Facial tissues
  • Cleaning soap
  • Handwashing stations
  • Hand sanitizers containing a minimum of 60% alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Disinfection and cleansing brokers and provides
  • Mattress linens/blankets
  • Supplies for use for boundaries between cots in separation space(s)
  • Over-the-counter drugs
    • Seek the advice of a healthcare supplier when contemplating giving over-the-counter drugs to youngsters. Youngsters youthful than 4 years of age ought to NOT be given over-the-counter chilly drugs with out first talking with a healthcare supplier. Do NOT give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to youngsters who seem sick; this will trigger a uncommon however critical sickness known as Reye’s syndrome.

Cleansing and disinfection

The chance of publicity to cleansing workers is inherently low. Prepare workers members who carry out cleansing features utilizing CDC suggestions for cleansing and disinfection. These suggestions might be up to date as extra info turns into accessible. Educational supplies for custodial and different workers must be supplied in languages aside from English as domestically applicable.

  • Disinfection must be completed utilizing an EPA-registered disinfectant exterior icon.
  • Cleansing workers ought to put on disposable gloves and robes for all duties within the cleansing course of, together with dealing with trash.
  • Stable waste (trash) comparable to tissues, meals objects, and drink containers must be thought of as doubtlessly “infectious waste.”
  • Waste receptacles with non-removable, no-touch lids, must be positioned an affordable distance away from any populated areas.
  • Place a handwashing station or hand sanitizers containing a minimum of 60% alcohol subsequent to any waste receptables. Disinfect the lids and handles of receptacles frequently.
  • Outside waste receptacles must be lined with lids.
  • Areas and objects which can be visibly dirty must be cleaned instantly.
  • All frequent areas must be cleaned and disinfected each 4 hours with a concentrate on often touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, gentle switches, handles, desks, bathrooms, taps, and sinks.
  • Linens (comparable to mattress sheets and towels), consuming utensils, and dishes belonging to those that are sick don’t must be cleaned individually, however they shouldn’t be shared with out having been totally washed. Wash linens utilizing laundry cleaning soap and tumble dry on the warmest setting attainable.
  • Employees ought to wash their fingers with cleaning soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol instantly after dealing with soiled laundry or used consuming utensils and dishes.

Air Filtration

If attainable:

  • Find catastrophe shelters in buildings with excessive air flow capability much like healthcare services.
  • Shelters must be geared up with air alternate programs.
  • Shelters must be situated in buildings with tall ceilings.
  • Make the most of the very best effectivity filters which can be suitable with the shelter’s present HVAC system.
  • Undertake “clean-to-dirty” directional airflows.
  • Choose upward airflow rotation if utilizing ceiling followers.

Particular issues for kids

  • Educate mother and father and caregivers about how one can cut back the unfold of sickness.
  • Assist mother and father perceive that youngsters might really feel stress and concern whereas within the shelter. Data on coping with stress may also help mother and father handle their very own stress and that of their youngsters.
  • Encourage mother and father and caregivers to watch youngsters for signs of sickness and to report any suspected sickness instantly to shelter workers.
    • The signs of COVID-19 are comparable in youngsters and adults. Nevertheless, youngsters with confirmed COVID-19 have usually proven gentle signs.
    • Reported signs in youngsters embody cold-like signs, comparable to fever, runny nostril, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have additionally been reported.
  • Instruct mother and father/guardians to help youngsters to remain a minimum of 6 ft away from different residents.
  • If attainable, at nap time, be sure that youngsters’s naptime mats (or cribs) are spaced out as a lot as attainable, ideally 6 ft aside. Contemplate putting youngsters head to toe so as to additional cut back the potential for illness unfold.
  • Assign the identical mat/crib to at least one youngster or disinfect mat/crib between use by completely different youngsters.
  • Totally clear frequent play areas or short-term respite care areas each 4-6 hours with a concentrate on objects which can be extra prone to have frequent contact with the fingers, mouths, or bodily fluids of youngsters (e.g., toys).
  • Clear and disinfect toys
    • Toys that can’t be cleaned and disinfected shouldn’t be used.
    • Toys that youngsters have positioned of their mouths or which can be in any other case contaminated by physique secretions or excretions must be put aside till they’re cleaned by hand by an individual sporting gloves. Clear with water and detergent, rinse, disinfect with an EPA-registered disinfectant, rinse once more, and air-dry. You might also clear in a mechanical dishwasher. Be conscious of things extra prone to be positioned in a baby’s mouth, like play meals, dishes, and utensils.
    • Mechanically cleanable material toys must be utilized by one particular person at a time or shouldn’t be used in any respect. These toys must be laundered earlier than being utilized by one other youngster.
    • Don’t share toys with different teams of infants or toddlers, except they’re washed and disinfected earlier than being moved from one group to the opposite.
    • Put aside toys that must be cleaned. Place in a dish pan with soapy water or put in a separate container marked for “dirty toys.” Preserve dish pans and water out of attain of youngsters to forestall threat of drowning. Washing with soapy water is the perfect technique for cleansing. Attempt to have sufficient toys in order that the toys might be rotated by means of cleanings.
    • Youngsters’s books, like different paper-based supplies comparable to mail or envelopes, should not thought of a excessive threat for transmission and don’t want extra cleansing or disinfection procedures.
  • Require hand hygiene for kids, mother and father, and workers earlier than coming into and leaving the youngsters’s short-term respite care space.
  • Hand sanitizer must be stored out of attain of youngsters.

Discover extra info on caring for kids through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Animals in emergency shelters

These suggestions define particular issues for reducing COVID-19 transmission threat in human shelters that additionally home animals. Whereas the chance of transmission from animals to people is believed to be low, precautions must be taken to forestall attainable transmission. For extra info, evaluation CDC’s Suggestions for Catastrophe Sheltering of Family Pets, Service Animals, and Help Animals through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

NOTE: Don’t put masks or different face coverings on animals, even when they seem sick.

Companion animals (pets)

The scope of those suggestions is restricted to particular issues for pet-friendly catastrophe shelters through the COVID-19 pandemic. Data on common shelter operations might be discovered within the FEMA Finest Observe “Shelter Operations: Pet-Pleasant Shelterspdf icon” doc. Detailed suggestions on dealing with uncovered animals is obtainable within the “Interim suggestions for consumption of companion animals from households the place peopleexterior icon with COVID-19 are currentexterior icon” developed by the American Veterinary Medical Affiliation (AVMA), with assist from CDC One Well being.

Animal areas

Word: Suggestions for working the human shelter must be utilized by any particular person within the animal areas. Use of masks, frequent handwashing, social distancing, and frequent cleansing and disinfection must be maintained within the animal areas. Don’t put any sort of face overlaying on animals.

If sure, the animal must be sheltered within the animal isolation space.

  • Gather details about COVID-19 publicity standing of pets at entry, in addition to any medical indicators in pets per COVID-19, to help in triaging and correct isolation.
  • Separate animals by a distance of a minimum of 6 ft always, together with throughout pet registration and train.
  • Restrict entry to animals to at least one wholesome member of the family in the course of the keep.
  • Present handwashing stations at entry and exit to the animal areas.
  • All individuals ought to wash their fingers with cleaning soap and water for 20 seconds upon entry and exit to the world.
  • Anybody dealing with animals who might have been uncovered or present indicators of sickness ought to put on gloves and a masks. Gloves must be disposed of after every use.
  • If an animal will get sick whereas within the shelter:
    • Name a veterinarian and allow them to know the animal might have been uncovered to an individual with COVID- 19.
    • Contact native animal well being and public well being authorities to find out if the animal must be examined and if different precautions must be taken.

Service animals

In accordance with the People with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals have to be allowed to stick with their handlers.

It is very important remember the fact that:

  • Service animals are permitted below the ADA no matter whether or not they’re licensed or licensed.
  • Individuals with service animals can’t be remoted from different individuals or handled much less favorably.
  • Individuals with service animals can’t be requested to take away their service animal from the shelter except:
    • Animal is uncontrolled
    • Animal poses a direct menace

If the handler exhibits indicators of sickness:

  • If accessible, present a separate room the place the handler and repair animal can isolate collectively.
    • If a separate room is just not accessible, the handler and repair animal ought to transfer to the group isolation space.
  • Service animal ought to stay a minimum of 6 ft aside from different individuals within the isolation space.
  • To the extent attainable, the handler ought to restrict contact between themselves and their service animal (e.g., avoiding petting, snuggling, or different contact not associated to the service animal’s work or process).
  • Handler ought to wash fingers often and earlier than and after touching the service animal.
  • If attainable, have somebody who is just not symptomatic stroll, train, and feed the service animal.

If the service animal exhibits indicators of sickness:

  • Observe the suggestions within the bullets above, besides if a separate room is just not accessible the handler and repair animal ought to stay within the common inhabitants space.
  • Don’t put any sort of face overlaying on the service animal.
  • The handler or different caretaker ought to put on gloves and a masks when strolling, exercising, or feeding the animals. Gloves must be disposed of after every use.
  • Name a veterinarian and allow them to know the animal might have been uncovered to an individual with COVID-19.
  • Contact native animal well being and public well being to find out if the animal must be examined and if different precautions must be taken.

Steering for Service and Remedy Animals outlines methods to maintain your service and remedy animals protected whereas sheltering throughout COVID-19.

View extra info on what to do if an animal is sick and retaining animals protected in opposition to COVID-19.

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