04 Aug Hurricanes and COVID-19 Disaster Preparedness
With thousands of COVID-19 cases still being recorded every day in the United States as of July 2021, it is essential to take virus protections into consideration sooner rather than later. Especially when you add unplanned disasters and emergencies into the picture, things get even more complicated. It’s important that we, as emergency workers and members of the general public, stay informed and prepared for natural disasters that may strike our communities.
With an average of 17 hurricanes striking the United States every decade, this type of natural disaster is likely to occur before the COVID-19 virus stops impacting our healthcare system. Read on to familiarize yourself with tips and resources on how to respond to a hurricane disaster that strikes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurricane and COVID-19 preparedness tips for the general public:
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can to avoid getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19, and potentially protect those around you from getting sick as well.
- When preparing emergency food, water, and medical supplies, get supplies delivered rather than shopping in-person. If this option isn’t available, practice COVID-19 safety precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands often with soap and water, and staying six feet apart from others.
- When filling prescriptions at the pharmacy, use mail-order delivery or call in your prescriptions ahead of time, and use drive-thru or curbside pickup options when available.
- Pay close attention to local guidelines about updated evacuation plans and emergency sheltering, and don’t forget about shelters for your pets! If you need to stay at a shelter or evacuate, practice COVID-19 public shelter safety precautions and general COVID-19 safety precautions on transportation like wearing a mask, washing hands often with soap and water, and staying six feet apart from others.
- When checking up on friends and family, don’t forget to continue practicing COVID-19 safety precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands often with soap and water, and staying six feet apart from others.
- Prepare a go-kit in case you need to evacuate including personal items you’ll need during an emergency and supplies to protect you and others from COVID-19 including multiple masks for everyone 2 years and older, soap, and disinfectant wipes.
- Have several ways to receive weather alerts such as the National Weather Service’s cell phone alerts, weather radio,and Twitter alerts.
- Prepare a disaster go-kit for your pets, and know where they can go to shelter (not all emergency shelters allow pets).
- If you will be staying with friends or family outside your household to escape the storm, communicate openly about how you all can protect yourselves from COVID-19. Consider if anyone from either household is at high-risk for COVID-19 complications and how to keep them safe, practice general COVID-19 safety precautions, know how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19, and know what to do if someone in your household gets sick with COVID-19.
Hurricane and COVID-19 preparedness resources for emergency workers:
- Hurricane Key Messages COVID-19 Annex: Messaging to help the public prepare, evacuate, and shelter during a hurricane disaster while protecting against COVID-19. Best used for communication plans.
- COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scenarios in Disaster Shelters: Guide to building skills for COVID-19 contact tracing during a hurricane disaster. Best used for role-play and preparedness efforts.
- CDC’s Interim Guidance for General Population Disaster Shelters During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guide to reducing the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in disaster shelters during a hurricane disaster. Best used for preparedness efforts.
- Recommendations for Disaster Sheltering of Household Pets, Service Animals, and Support Animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Assistance for emergency planners considering the sheltering of household pets, service animals and support animals during a hurricane disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Generic Plans for COVID-19 Specimen Testing and Management During a Hurricane: Recommendations for how clinical laboratories should plan for testing COVID-19 during a hurricane disaster.
- Infographic: FDA Approval vs. FDA Emergency Use Authorization
- What It Means: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Receives FDA Approval
- Ways to Bridge the Rural Vaccination Divide
- COVID-19, Disasters of Concern, and Emergency Preparedness
- Resources: COVID-19 and Mental Health
- Resources: COVID-19 and Unemployment
- Disaster Preparedness for Vulnerable Groups During COVID-19