By Kate Bradford
From keeping up on public health recommendations to abiding state or local orders, everyone has a role to play during a pandemic.
Since a national emergency concerning COVID-19 was declared in March, various local and federal agencies have posted guidelines to limit the spread of disease. Strategies to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 continue to be updated based on what is currently known about the disease and how it spreads.
To help communities best prevent and manage COVID-19 transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides several resources tailored to certain groups and settings. Among recommendations, CDC offers the following resources:
- Large Community Events and Mass Gatherings: Large events and gatherings can contribute to community transmission of COVID-19. View guidance on when to cancel or postpone an event and steps to plan, prepare and proceed with a mass gathering, including recommendations for election polling locations.
- Health Care Settings: There are many important considerations for health care settings, including actions to prioritize health care visits and procedures, preserve staff personal protective equipment (PPE) and patient care supplies, ensure staff and patient safety and expand available hospital capacity.
- First Responders and Law Enforcement: Resources include interim guidance for emergency medical services systems and information for law enforcement personnel, including updated personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations.
- Retirement Communities and Independent Living: Residents in retirement communities and independent living facilities are considered to be at higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Administrators, workers, visitors, volunteers and residents of retirement communities can help slow the spread of disease by following these recommendations.
- Parks and Recreational Facilities: In many areas, people can visit parks, trails and open spaces to relieve stress, get some fresh air, stay active and safely connect with others. View guidance for park visitors and administrators.
- Correctional and Detention Facilities: The environment of incarcerated or detained persons may heighten the potential for COVID-19 transmission. New detailed guidance includes social distancing strategies, infection control, medical isolation and considerations for persons at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
- Schools and Child Care Programs: Recommendations include considerations for school closures and supplemental guidance for child care programs that remain open.
- Businesses and Employers: Review practices on how to prevent COVID-19 workplace exposure and transmission in non-health care settings and among critical workers.
- Community- and Faith-Based Organizations: The CDC provides preventative actions, steps to take if there is spread in the local community, and emergency plans if there is COVID-19 within an organization or facility.
- Resources to Support People Experiencing Homelessness: Review recommendations for homeless and meal service providers for emergency and day shelters.
- Household Checklist: How can you take action at home? Stay informed and in touch, prepare for possible illness and take every day preventative steps to protect individuals and families. Watch for symptoms and follow recommended precautions if someone in your home gets sick.
The outbreak of disease, isolation, the disruption of daily life and uncertainty can be stressful. The CDC also offers advice on how individuals and communities can plan, prepare and cope with these changes.
State legislators can support their health care providers, first responders, law enforcement and communities generally by sharing CDC guidance and resources with community members. The CDC and state and local public health agencies have credible and updated information that can help inform constituents. Visit the CDC’s webpage, "Schools, Workplaces and Community Locations," to view a comprehensive list of tailored public health recommendations to prepare and take action against COVID-19. CDC guidance is updated periodically, please check the webpage to keep informed.
Additional NCSL COVID-19 Resources
Kate Bradford is a research analyst for NCSL's Health Program.