Infectious Disease Preparedness & Response Plan

Update as of 03.03.2021

The purpose of developing an infectious disease preparedness and response plan is to help guide protective actions against COVID-19. The plan will be regularly up-dated with guidance from federal, state and local health agencies, and YC Administration consideration on how to incorporate those recommendations and resources into our specific workplace.

For the purposes of this plan, “Staff” includes all paid staff, university interns, and volunteers regularly involved with YC program service delivery. The term “Guests” includes visitors to the agency or program site, and youth or family members involved in any YC programs or services.

What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

Per the CDC:  Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. To check for updates from the CDC or to complete a self-check go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

Risk Levels at Youth Crossroads

Due to the YC programs revolving around individual work and, small and large group work with youth and their families, our staff, interns, volunteers, and consumers are all at high risk for contracting COVID-19. Additionally, YC is aware that individuals may have their own personal high-risk factors (i.e. older age, chronic medical conditions including immunocompromising conditions, pregnancy) which increase their risk for not only catching COVID-19 but may increase the severity of the symptoms and long-term affects of the illness. It is thus important that all individuals at the YC main office, providing off site services or attending any YC programs or services follow the guidelines in this plan. 

YC will follow federal, state and local recommendations regarding development of contingency plans for situations that may arise as a result of outbreaks, such as: 

  • Increased rates of worker absenteeism. 
  • The need for social distancing, downsizing operations, delivering services remotely, and other exposure-reducing measures. 
  • Options for conducting essential operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

YC will provide appropriate PPE to all staff and guests who require them. Masks will be offered before entering the YC main building or program site, as well as, hand sanitizer and gloves. The main building has easy access to both hand washing stations as well as, hand sanitizer throughout. Hand sanitizer and other PPE will be made available for any additional program sites (i.e. SBC or After-School program sites). Additional information about cleaning is available below. 

Implementation of Basic Infection Prevention Measures

DO NOT COME TO WORK IF YOU ARE SICK

Staff should not report to work if they have any known symptoms of COVID 19 (see information above). If symptoms are present, staff should contact their supervisor immediately and make plans for time-off or remote work options. If you test positive for COVID-19 and have been at work in the last seven days, notify your supervisor and the Executive Director immediately and follow your doctor’s guidance for returning to work.

Staff should also quarantine for 10 days from the date of last exposure, per the State of Illinois if:

  1. You have had close contact to a positive COVID-19 case
  2. You are returning to the State of Illinois from a known hotspot for COVID-19 cases (for up-to-date information on travel hot spots go to: https://cookcountypublichealth.org/communicable-diseases/covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance/)
  3. See recommendations from the Cook County Public Health Department: COVID-19 Travel Guidance – Cook County Department of Public Health. When traveling and staying for more than 24 hours in a state with a known recent increase in disease burden, or a ‘red’ state, it makes sense to quarantine for 6-9 days.  This is regardless of method of travel, or length of stay.  Individual exceptions may be reasonable, and should be discussed with your supervisor or Executive Director.
    Exception – If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you are exempt from the Travel Order as long as you have completed your 10-day isolation (from start of symptoms and/or positive test), have a documented positive test, and remain asymptomatic during your travel. – OR – If you have been fully vaccinated and have not had symptoms you are exempt from the travel order.  Fully vaccinated is defined as being at least two weeks after receipt of the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. 
  4. As far as air travel, the necessary close proximity in TSA screening lines, boarding lines, and the gaggle that forms when exiting the jet all increase exposure to other travelers of unknown risk.  But at the gate the ventilation is markedly reduced, and proximity and delays in exit increase exposure/risk. Thus, we believe quarantine after air travel is prudent.  A negative test 6-9 days after travel would be reassuring, and is believed to protect others in the workplace, and may be an acceptable alternative to a strict 14-day quarantine. Again, check-in with your supervisor or Executive Director for guidance.

If a Staff member is quarantined but non-symptomatic, the Staff member should discuss with their supervisor how they can continue their work remotely. 

When entering the office all staff need to:

  • Be correctly wearing a face covering/mask
  • Sign-in on the form provided at the entrance
  • Take their temperature using the no touch thermometer provided. Temperature should read below 100 degrees.

Testing

Current guidelines suggest that individuals should get tested 7 to 8 days after exposure for the most accurate results.

There are 2 kinds of tests available for COVID-19. A viral test tells you if you have a current infection. An antibody test might tell you if you if you had a past infection.

Who should get tested:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19
  • People who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone with confirmed COVID-19
  • People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider, local or state health department

How to get tested for current COVID-19 Infection:

  • A list of local (to the YC offices) spots will be provided to individuals
  • You can visit state or local health department websites for convenient sites 
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms prior to being tested

Return To Work

Based on CDC Guidelines as of 11/01/2020 (Note these recommendations do not apply to individuals with severe COVID-19 or severe weakened immune support systems. In these cases, please follow Doctor recommendations.)

  • If you think you have or know you have had COVID-19 and had symptoms, you may return to work:
    • After 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND;
    • 24 hours with no fever and without using fever reducing medicines AND:
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.)
  • If you have tested positive but have no symptoms, you can return to work after 10 day if you continue to be symptom free. If at any time you develop symptoms, follow initial protocol in this section.
  • Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person.
  • However, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria does NOT need to stay home.
    • Has COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and
    • Has recovered and
    • Remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
  • Those who are fully vaccinated and have hadan exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine as long as they maintain asymptomatic.  Fully vaccinated is defined as being at least two weeks after receipt of the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. 

Bringing Guests in to the Office Space

When establishing individual or family appointments, or in-person group meetings, inform attendees that they must cancel and not attend an in-person session if:

  1. They currently have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any flu-like symptoms
  2. They have been or believe to have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus within the past 2 weeks
  3. They have visited a COVID-19 hot spot within the last 2 weeks (for up-to-date information on travel hot spots go to: https://cookcountypublichealth.org/communicable-diseases/covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance/)

 Upon a Guest’s arrival, a YC staff member should:

  • Ask the guest if they have any flu like symptoms, had contact with anyone who is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, or has recently returned from an out of state location. 
  • Ensure the guest has a normal body temperature (temperature below 100) using the touchless thermometer provided.
  • Ensure the guest has a face covering/mask and is wearing it prior to entering into the office space. If the guest does not have a face covering/mask, one will be provided to them by the YC staff person.
  • Ask the guest to sign-in on the provided sign-in sheet. The sheet will ask them for a phone number which will be used if needed for contact tracing. 
  • Escort the guest to the area they are going, notifying them of areas for washing hands or where hand sanitizer is located.

While in the YC main facility YC Staff and Guests should:

  • Limit gatherings. No more than 15 people may be in the indoor large open space (YLP area) at one time. No more than 15 people may be in the other YC space at one time (middle area and offices). No more than 30 people total in the building at one time. (This is based on our communities currently being in Phase 4 and will be adjusted as changes are provided by Local and State Health Agencies.)
  • Use teleconferencing or videoconferencing when a larger meeting is necessary. 
  • Practice social distancing.  To the extent individuals are using shared spaces, including when outdoors, they must at all times and as much as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person.  
  • Wear a face covering.  Any individual who is over age two is required to wear a face mask/covering at all times in the YC facility.  YC will provide face coverings if needed.
  • Go outdoors. Public health guidance suggests that the risks of transmission of COVID-19 are greatly reduced outdoors as opposed to indoors. Where possible, all are encouraged to conduct their activities outdoors. 
  • Follow CDC Guidelines for limiting transmission. Including washing hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, cover mouth and nose with a tissue or inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing, immediately throw tissue in trash, then wash hands.
  • Rearrange furniture to allow for social distancing.
  • Do not share devices, phones, computers, etc. 
  • Wipe down door handles and surfaces regularly and after each session, activity, etc.
  • Schedule appointments further apart to allow time to disinfect the office.
  • Provide no touch waste disposal options (trash cans with a foot lever).

While at outside Program Sites, Staff and Guests should:

  • Follow the COVID-19 protocol of the school. Ensure that all staff on premises are aware of and knowledgeable about the school’s protocol and who to talk to if there are issues or questions.
  • Practice social distancing.  To the extent individuals are using shared spaces, including when outdoors, they must at all times and as much as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person. Rearrange furniture as needed to ensure appropriate spacing.
  • Wear a face covering.  Any individual who is over age two shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a face mask/covering when in YC programs, whether on-site or in community sites.  Staff must ensure that extra masks are available.
  • Go outdoors. Public health guidance suggests that the risks of transmission of COVID-19 are greatly reduced outdoors as opposed to indoors. Where possible, all are encouraged to conduct their activities outdoors. 
  • Follow CDC Guidelines for limiting transmission. Including washing hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, cover mouth and nose with a tissue or inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing, immediately throw tissue in trash, then wash hands.
  • Do not share devices, phones, computers, etc. Encourage Guests to also limit the sharing of their devices and personal belongings.
  • Wipe down door handles and surfaces regularly and after each session, activity, etc. Staff needs to ensure that they have access to appropriate disinfecting and cleaning supplies at each site. YC will provide these items if not provided by the school. 
  • Schedule appointments further apart to allow time to disinfect the office.

When transporting Guests is Necessary (i.e. Crisis situations, program field trips, etc.):

  • Minimize all non-essential travel. 
  • All Staff and Guests should wear a face cover/mask while in the vehicle. When possible, spread individuals around the vehicle creating appropriate spacing (6 ft) between riders and allow windows to be open. If using air conditioning or heat, ensure vehicle is bringing in outside air not circulating the air inside the vehicle. 
  • Before transporting guests or other staff, check for COVID symptoms or exposure to COVID.
  • After transporting guests or other staff, clean and disinfect the vehicle

Action Plan for Suspected/Confirmed Cases

If a staff member or a guest becomes ill while in the YC Main office or at a Program Site, or calls in sick and has been on site within the last 7 days:

  • Isolate the individual as soon as possible until it is possible to get the individual home.
  • Close off areas the sick person used, especially offices and equipment for a minimum of 48 hours. After 48 hours clean and disinfect the area. 
  • When possible, open doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.

If a Staff member or Guest informs the office they are ill or tested positive for COVID-19 and has not been in the building for over 7 days, additional cleaning beyond normal routine cleaning is not necessary. 

Notifications and Quarantine

Administration will determine which Staff and Guests may have been exposed to an individual who is sick or tested positive and notify them, keeping confidentiality of the sick individual. Per the CDC, people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months need to quarantine for 10 days. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms. It is unusual but not impossible to contract COVID-19 a second time. Please note that the loss of smell and taste can last weeks and months after the end of other symptoms.

What counts as close contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Stay home and monitor your health

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • Watch for fever (100.4◦F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

Plan for Excessive Absences

Staff and Supervisors should build a plan to cover excessive absences and coverage of services in order to prevent a significant impact on youth and families we serve.

Action Plan for Routine Cleaning and Disinfecting

Most surfaces and objects will just need normal routine cleaning. Frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches and doorknobs will need to be cleaned and then disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects.

  • First, clean the surface or object with soap and water.
  • Then, disinfect using an EPA approved disinfectant.
  • Don’t use bleach on electronics – use 70% or greater alcohol wipes to clean keyboards / phones  / other electronics.

Also consider what items can be moved or removed completely to reduce frequent handling or contact from multiple people. Soft and porous materials, such as area rugs and seating, may be removed or stored to reduce the challenges with cleaning and disinfecting them. 

Before you leave for the day from any site, using the disinfecting wipes available at the office, clean the area, door knobs and all devices used, including phones and keyboards. You should use gloves when using these wipes. For chairs, or couches spray thoroughly with disinfecting spray provided. Chairs and couches should also be disinfected between every counseling session or meeting. 

Cleaning sheets will be kept in each bathroom and in the kitchen. At least twice a day faucets, counters, toilets and doorknobs should be disinfected. Everyone in the office is responsible for helping keep these areas clean and disinfected. After cleaning the area, you will mark the date, time and initial on the sheet provided. Full, deep cleaning and disinfecting of the office will happen every two weeks by contracted cleaning staff.