How to prepare for COVID-19 in your organization
Pay extra attention to your existing prevention efforts.
- Encourage clients and staff to wash hands often. Post signs.
- Ask clients and staff to cover coughs with inner elbow, inside of shirt collar or tissues. Post signs.
- Ask clients with symptoms to wear a mask or to cover their cough. Post signs in English and Spanish.
- Well-stock all restrooms with soap and paper towels.
- Provide hand sanitizer at key locations: by entrance, phone, computers, elevators, etc.
- Consider setting up temporary handwashing stations at entrances or other places with limited access.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes and mouth.
- Stock up on supplies of tissues, hand sanitizer and gloves.
- Provide plastic-lined wastebaskets for used tissues and masks.
- Staff should use gloves when picking up used tissues or emptying waste baskets.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces several times per shift. Pay particular attention to doorknobs, banisters, tabletops, handrails, pens, phones, bathroom fixtures, keyboards, etc.
Shelter and housing providers
- Screen for symptoms upon entry.
- Do your best to separate people with symptoms from healthy people.
- Offer a separate space for eating and resting if you can.
- Follow the Interim Guidance on COVID-19 for Homeless Service Providers.
Monitor your clients for symptoms. Refer them to care, if needed.
- Frequently check this link, we regularly update it—What to do if a client has symptoms and where they can get tested.
Considerations for staff.
- Encourage sick staff and volunteers to stay home. Send them home if they start feeling sick at work.
- Plan your staffing to minimize the number of staff members who have face-to-face interactions with clients with respiratory symptoms.
- People over age 60, with underlying health conditions or who are pregnant are at greater risk of severe COVID-19. Don't designate them as caregivers for sick clients.
Resources for specific types of human services providers.
All human services organizations
What to do if you:
- Have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Have symptoms but weren't exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Housing and homeless service providers
All homelessness providers
- COVID-19 tips for homeless service providers.
- Interim guidance for homeless shelters—CDC.
- Recommendations for homeless shelters facilities—DOH.
- Infectious disease preparedness for homeless assistance providers webinar.
- Clean and disinfect to kill hepatitis A infographic, also available in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
- Sanitation and hygiene guide for homeless service providers—Public Health Seattle King County.
- COVID-19 Infographic for people experiencing homelessness.
Street outreach workers
- Novel coronavirus outreach worker training—Public Health Seattle & King County.
- Interim guidance for homeless shelters—CDC.
- COVID-19 preparedness checklist for service providers.
- Infectious disease toolkit—U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Residential facilities—Adult family boarding homes, transitional housing
- Home Isolation Guidance for Families and Individuals Living in permanent Supportive Housing.
- Prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Homes and Residential Communities.
Home care workers
- COVID-19 Guidance for In-Home Care Providers—DOH.
- COVID-19 Guidance for Field Staff.
- Guidance to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Homes and Residential Communities—CDC.
- Guidance for Home Care Agencies—DOH.
- Guidance for Parents and Caretakers—DOH.
What are severe symptoms of COVID-19?
Severe symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
- Sudden dizziness.
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
Seek medical care if you are concerned about the health and safety of yourself or your clients. If you are over age 60, have underlying medical problems like diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, or weakened/suppressed immune symptoms, you may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its complications.
I’m not sure how to isolate sick clients in my shelter. Can the Health Department help me?
Yes, we want to help as much as we can. If you need help creating an isolation plan for your facility, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The situation is constantly evolving, and our availability may change.
Can my clients access telehealth services for COVID-19?
Yes, and you can help them! There may be different technology, insurance, and ID requirements depending on the option you choose.
Does your client have Apple Health?
Most plans also have 24/7 nursing lines. Questions? Contact customer service.
Is your client is uninsured?
MultiCare and Franciscan are offering Free virtual visits to anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. Both programs require an online account. If your client does not have an email address, you can help them set one up for free through a service like Gmail or Yahoo. If a client has no mailing address or phone number, enter your organization’s information.
Where can I find information about volunteering?