Infection Prevention and Control FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Coronavirus or COVID-19 and why should I care?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new virus (not seen previously) that causes a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Want to learn more, see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) poster titled What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
Symptoms (e.g., fever over 100.4◦F, cough, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches or pain, runny nose, chills, difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache, new loos of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) can appear in 2-14 days after exposure to an ill individual. Regardless how mild (even if you believe you can push through and continue to work), if you develop these symptoms, contact your medical provider or use the CDC Coronavirus Self Checker to seek additional directions. Not every individual will be tested for COVID-19 and the diagnosis may be made after an assessment by a healthcare provider. The CDC webpage, What to do if You Are Sick, provides additional items you can do if you or family member becomes ill.
What do I need to know about COVID-19?
- Anyone can become ill regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or gender
- For most individuals, the risk of developing a serious illness is low
- Medical providers and the local public health will let ill individuals know when they can no longer spread COVID-19
- There are simple things you can do to keep yourself and others healthy
- Know the signs and symptoms
Tell me more about these simple things to stay healthy?
- Stay home if you are ill and avoid contact with ill individuals
- Clean your hands with either traditional soap and water or use hand sanitizer or rub
- Cover your cough or sneeze but not with your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with uncleaned hands
- Keep physical distancing of 6 feet away from others
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Wear a face covering when in public
Multiple resources are available to provide additional information including:
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) poster to Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family and Community
- The CDC Stop the Spread of Germs
- CDC Print Resources
- CDC Use of Masks to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
- NCSRCC on-demand video series: Tips for Staying Healthy
- Common Mistakes When Washing Your Hands
- Break Free the Handshake Habit
- The Importance of Physical Distancing
- How to Avoid Touching Your Face
- Covering Your Cough and Sneezes
- Myths About Hand Sanitizer
- How to Clean and Disinfect
- Common Questions on the Job Site
- Face Coverings: What and Why
- How to Appy and Remove Face Coverings
- Care of Face Coverings
How as a business should I prepare for COVID-19?
The CDC provides Recommendation Strategies for Employers to use Now and the NCSRCC has compiled these recommendations into an Employer Checklist for easy reference. The Employer Checklist is also available in Spanish.
How are we as contractors expected to keep up with the CDC recommendations with the shortages on sanitary services, hand washing stations, etc.?
The NCSRCC understands the need to work and the importance of keeping up to date so we created the Coronavirus Updates for NCSRCC members page. Check back frequently as we continue to post important information and resources from our partners and our internal experts including the NCSRCC COVID-19 Priorities.
I’m hearing a lot about the importance of cleaning and disinfection – What do I need to know to do my job?
Picking up COVID-19 from a surface with your hands and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth is considered a much smaller threat than exposure to a cough or sneeze. To reduce this risk, a clean work site is a safer work environment. Cleaning (physically remove germs, grim, dirt, chemicals) must be done before disinfection (kills the remaining germs on the surface). Always follow the manufacture label, recommendations for PPE, and verify the product is not expired. The CDC recommends we continue to use our normal disinfection products at this time but if we can clean/disinfect more frequently, we can reduce the risk of spread. Steps needed to clean and disinfect are explained and demonstrated in the NCSRCC on-demand video: Cleaning and Disinfection.
NCSRCC has also added a Disinfectant Evaluation Steps when deciding which disinfectant will be effective for COVID-19 and weighing all the options.
Is there anything specific to construction that relates to preventing the spread of COVID-19?
NCSRCC has many ready to use documents for contractors, foreman, construction project managers, and workers to help keep all individuals safe on the work site. This includes Contractors #STOPTHESPREAD by Keeping You Safe and COVID-19 Checklist for Construction Site. The Construction Site Checklist is also available in Spanish. Both documents take general recommendations for the public and community and apply it to our industry. Your state based Associated General Contractors (AGC) chapter or other Construction. Employer associations may also have additional resources. The NCSRCC Worksite Exposure Risk Factors sheet also sorts job site exposure factors by low, medium, and high risk and can be used to decide how to make the job site safer.
During times like this, can we as contractors be flexible or creative with work hours and/or multiple shifts to keep social distancing on jobsites with our employees?
Yes. It is recommended that contractors use various methods to keep social distancing on worksites, including limiting the number of people on the job site at a given time, not stacking trades, staggering work shifts and hours, staggering the use of shared space, staggering entry and exit, and a reduction of hours if necessary.
How is it ok for construction to continue big jobs when we need to be keeping physical/social distances?
Physical distancing is a challenge for all construction sites regardless of the size. Contractors, Foremen/Construction Managers, and individuals all need to work together to provide a safe environment and the COVID-19 Checklist for a Construction Site (also available in Spanish) is an excellent resource with suggestions including:
- Prohibit large gatherings that exceed 10 individuals
- Limit number of individuals on the site
- Limit tasks to what is strictly necessary
- Don’t stack trades
- Reconfigure break spaces for greater distance between individuals (e.g., remove tables or chairs)
- Stagger shifts and breaks to limit to 10 individuals
- Stagger use of skip, elevator, stairwell volumes for entry and exit
- Conduct workflow audits and problem solve solutions to increase physical distancing
- Do not congregate on the worksite or typically shared spaces (e.g., lunch or break room)
- Maintain 6 feet between you and co-workers during discussions
When two or more individuals are required to complete a task safely and can’t be accomplished with 6-foot distancing:
- Limit close contact to 10-minute or less intervals
- Consider wind direction
- Avoid face-to-face posturing
- Use eye with side protection and a mask or covering.
The NCSRCC Worksite Exposure Risk Factors sheet also sorts job site exposure factors by low, medium, and high risk and can be used to decide how to make the job site safer.
What are contractors doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on their sites?
Each contractor can decide what is best on their site and can implement measures even beyond individual state or CDC recommendations. The additional measures are a means to prevent the spread and keep the job site safe. Measures observed include:
- COVID-19 or pandemic plans, response teams and plans
- Toolbox talks or morning briefings about COVID-19 prevention methods
- Health screenings upon entering site – keep in mind Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) access to employee exposure and medical records requirements still apply
- Adding additional hygiene stations
- Adding additional cleaning/disinfection either at the beginning, middle, or end of the day
- Mandates as required by individual states
Does cleaning/disinfection change if we have a COVID-19 positive co-worker who was on our job site?
If confirmed by local public health, employers are to complete a “deep clean” at the work site using an EPA disinfectant effective against Coronavirus. As these products may be difficult to locate due to the high demand, an alternative is a bleach and water dilution of 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon or water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water for hard surfaces. Allow to sit wet for at least one minute and air dry. Soft surfaces can be washed/dried after spot cleaning (if needed) followed by a surface disinfectant. NCSRCC on-demand video: Cleaning and Disinfection talks more about these steps as well NCSRCC COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection for the Work Site is a summary of steps as directed by the CDC Cleaning and Disinfection for Your Facility webpage. WI Department of Public Health also has a Cleaning and Disinfection After a Confirmed COVID-19 Case Infographic too. The CDC does not recommend any additional cleaning if the ill individual has not been at the site for the past seven days.
If a jobsite gets shutdown because an employee is sent to self-quarantine due to COVID-19, what are the procedures for the other employees on the job? Do they self-quarantine as well or can they be moved to another job?
Self-isolation is used for an individual who either test positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19. These individuals cannot return to work until they have met the CDC recommendations for ending isolation.
Self-quarantine is used when an individual has had close contact (been within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period beginning 2 days before illness onset or test collection) but does not have symptoms. The CDC recommends that individuals who have been exposed be tested for COVID-19. The CDC provides 3 key steps to take while waiting for your COVID-19 results. Even if you test negative, you will need to remain in quarantine for 14 days.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services provides additional information on a negative test result after exposure. The South Dakota Public Health Infographic titled “Covid-19 Contact Tracing" is also an excellent resource. The CDC further explains the difference between quarantine and isolation. If you do not have symptoms nor have you had close contact with a case, you could be moved to another job site.
Does NCSRCC have a COVID-19 plan?
Yes, NCSRCC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Exposure or Confirmation protocol is based upon CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposures: Geographic Risk and Contacts of Laboratory-confirmed Cases as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. To request a copy, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I have more questions about preventing the spread of COVID-19?
We know as new information arrives; new questions tend to follow as knowledge is the key to successfully preventing the spread. NCSRCC has an on-demand video Answering Common Work Site COVID-19 Questions based upon previous submission. NCSRCC members can also submit questions to our Infection Preventionist at email@example.com.
Does the use of a cloth face covering help slow the spread of COVID-19?
We know from scientific studies that COVID-19 is being spread from individual who do not have symptoms. In order to prevent droplets dispelling into the air during conversations, coughing, sneezing or even singing, the mask collects the droplets on the inside of the covering. The CDC recommends wearing fabric cloth face coverings in public settings and many job sites have added this prevention step. The covering is not a substitution for 6 feet physical distancing as both used be used to keep others in your work environment safe. The CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 explains more about face coverings, how to make them, how to wear them, and how to clean them.
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