At Cove Risk Services, we may not be authorities specifically on the Coronavirus, but we do know a lot about risk management. We can be an important resource as you move forward with your plan for managing risks associated with COVID-19.


We encourage you to get the most relevant and up-to-date information from the most reliable COVID-19 sources, i.e., the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).


The following checklist from the CDC is very good at helping you understand the important areas to review in preparation for your Healthcare Facility to deal with COVID-19:



You are not just a healthcare operation with nursing staff and direct care professionals. Beyond frontline employees, you are likely an employer of commercial kitchen workers, housekeepers and sanitation workers, a laundry department, and facilities and maintenance crew. All necessary precautions should be taken for ALL workers you employ (contracted, permanent or temporary).


The CDC has many resources devoted to COVID-19. This guidance focuses specifically on evaluating and testing for the virus.


Massachusetts Department of Health also has very helpful information on their website.



Some people might say, “It’s just a fever and chest cold” or “I made it through the Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Zika and SARS.” Businesses in the healthcare sector cannot afford to have employees or visitors with this attitude. Have regular discussions pertaining to COVID-19 with your staff and visiting populations regarding how it spreads and what happens when it does.


We hope the following advice proves helpful with your education efforts.



You must first know what to communicate. Review the appropriate websites mentioned above daily to see what information has evolved or changed. Then you are best positioned to inform your staff with the most accurate current facts, correcting any misinformation.


Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
These basic questions are essential to keep in mind for effective communication with your employees. Who is or could be exposed? What to do if COVID-19 exists in your facility? How often to communicate about and manage the situation? Why is each action being taken? How are steps being implemented?


Be Specific
Provide information that tells your employee population exactly what they need to know and do. Explain the source and spread of the virus, the range in severity of symptoms and medical needs, and why it is now labeled a pandemic (according to WHO). Explain who is at highest risk to contract the virus, and what precautions are vital to their own health. Express the importance of understanding who is at highest risk for severe illness. The WHO site is a great resource for this information.


Predicting the Future
You can’t predict the future with 100% certainty. But the CDC has explained what may happen throughout the United States as the disease progresses. Share this informed perspective to help employees understand what the reality is.


What is the Government Doing?
Drive your message home by explaining what the CDC, WHO, Mass DPH, OSHA and other government agencies are doing. The seriousness of the matter, if not already understood, is vital to employee adherence to our expectations and to stopping the spread of the virus.



PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) has always been important. Caregivers need to take precaution in ways never expected of them before. This holds true for facilities with no known or suspected cases of COVID-19. Extreme precautions will be necessary if known or suspected cases exist in your facility. The CDC has a webpage devoted specifically to this topic.



Everyone should be educated on expectations for hand washing and use of alcohol-based hand rubs. The ability for employees to meet these expectations will depend on the strategic placement of dispensers, and bathrooms regularly checked and prepared for safe use of the handwashing areas.


The housekeeping and other affected department personnel should be vigilant in sanitizing/cleaning surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, handrails, tabletops, chairs, wheelchairs, lift equipment, scales, all bathing areas (toilets, faucet knobs, grab bars, shower chairs), kitchen counters, dishes, trays, silverware, glassware, coolers and freezers, dishwashers, floors, laundry appliances, laundry carts, containers, medical waste, medical equipment, ladders, vehicle parts (doorknobs, steering wheel, shifters, all control buttons and knobs). The complete list: everything!


When selecting cleaning products, choose those specially made to clean human coronavirus or known to be effective against it. This information can be determined by checking the company website or contacting consumer information lines.



PPE is required for all employees who may encounter a hazard, and where some other form of control for that hazard is ineffective. According to OSHA’s website, PPE is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other workplace hazards. PPE is focused on the hands and mouth. How we use our hands and mouth are major factors in the spread of the disease. PPE for these factors will include gloves and respiratory protection (masks).


OSHA has a specific webpage devoted to COVID-19.



As people exposed to COVID-19 outside of your facility could bring the disease in, you should have already stopped allowing outside visitors. Other essential contact people could also bring COVID-19 into your facility, including: outside paramedics/EMT, law enforcement, co-workers, medical suppliers, food suppliers, housekeeping suppliers, office supply deliveries, consultants, and any other contractors.


It is vital to take all necessary precautions with these individuals and others who might pass through your doors. Communicate expectations for them to enter your building. Direct them to the reliable sources above if they need to be informed or updated. Direct them to the CDC, WHO, Mass DPH, OSHA, etc. if they need educational materials.


We wish you the best for health and safety at this challenging time. We are in unprecedented waters and seemingly just learning to swim. I hope this information serves as a helpful floating device.


If you have further questions on where to go for information please feel free to contact me.


Chris S. Clark, ARM, COEE
Sr. Health & Safety Consultant
Cove Risk Services, LLC