40 years of helping children.
40 years of helping children.

COVID 19 OPERATIONAL PROTOCOL


The purpose of this page is to provide information guidance regarding how CARE House of Oakland County can safely operate while protecting the health of its staff, clients, and community partners. These recommendations are based upon the guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). As our knowledge about the virus and its transmission expands and evolves, these recommendations may change as well.


According to the CDC, “The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, including:


• Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
• Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”


The pillars of these recommendations are those that have been reiterated by the experts at the CDC and reflect the mode of spread suggested above: staying safe at home as much as possible, staying home when ill, protecting others from anyone who potentially could be spreading the coronavirus, social/physical distancing, and cleaning workspaces and high touch areas frequently.

 

Screening Staff & Visitors with Self Reporting of Symptoms
Before coming to CARE House, all visitors and staff should be able to answer “no” to each of these screening questions:

 

1. Do I have fever of 100.4 degrees F or greater?
2. Do I have a new cough that is unrelated to seasonal allergies?
3. Do I have a new sore throat that is unrelated to seasonal allergies?
4. Do I have new respiratory symptoms that are unrelated to seasonal allergies?
5. Do I have vomiting or diarrhea?
6. Do I have flu-like symptoms?
7. Do I have new muscle aches or pains?
8. Have I experienced a loss of my sense of smell or taste?
9. Have I been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected individual or person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

 

Anyone answering “yes” to any one of the screening questions should be rescheduled and advised to contact their medical provider for care and follow-up. Any visitor who has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual (see below)* should monitor themselves for the development of COVID-19 symptoms and quarantine for 14 days. Staff should report their status to their supervisor immediately.


*Close contact with a sick person is defined as:
• Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19
• Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
• Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes or more
• Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)

 

CARE House staff will ask screening questions at each of these times before allowing visitors entry to the building:

 

1. At the time the appointment is scheduled;
2. At the time of the reminder call or email for the appointment; and
3. Before entering the building for their appointment.

 

It is recommended that visitors are greeted in the entryway or parking lot to assess their health before entering the building. Clients and community partners will be allowed entry if their response is “no” to all questions.

 

Testing for COVID-19 is not 100% accurate. False negative test results (test is negative but person has the virus) can occur. Therefore, if an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of the test results, that individual should not come to the CAC. Regardless of diagnosis, children who are sick cannot participate to the fullest extent in the forensic interview process or therapy.

 

What to Do If Someone Comes to CARE House Who Is Sick
If the client or caregiver is identified as ill at the time of screening, the appointment must be rescheduled. In the case where a child needs an emergent medical examination and the child or caregiver is ill with COVID-19 symptoms, then the exam should be conducted in the local emergency department where procedures for isolating patients who are potentially COVID-19 positive have been established.


Visitors or staff who exhibit signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 after they have entered the building should be immediately isolated and moved to a location away from other workers and other visitors. The potentially infectious person should be placed in a room with the doors closed until they can depart. After a sick individual leaves the building, the room should be closed off. Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area if possible. Wait 24 hours, or as long as practical, before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

 

Policy for Visitors Entering CARE House
Each individual entering CARE House must wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer upon arrival. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant at least 60% alcohol-based, Kleenex, as well as trash receptacles to dispose of soiled material, should be readily available throughout the facility. Paper towels and disinfectant for cleaning should be readily available to staff. Signs reminding individuals to wash their hands are posted in each restroom and throughout the facility.


It is highly recommended that a child being seen at CARE House arrive without siblings (unless they too are being seen) and with only one accompanying caregiver. One family unit (child and caregiver) should occupy the waiting room at a single time and all high touch areas in the waiting room should be cleaned before the next client arrives (all surfaces, clipboards, pens, tables, door handles). Toys will not be available in waiting areas at this time. Only toys that can be wiped down with disinfectant or placed in a dishwasher will be available for checkout by a team member and will be disinfected before being checked in.


Appointments should be scheduled so that appointments do not overlap and allow time for forensic interview rooms and waiting rooms to be cleaned between families. If that is not possible, the overlapping families should be separated in different waiting rooms.


All persons who enter CARE House are required to wear masks when interacting with one another. Non-medical employees can wear cloth masks. Clients and community partners should wear masks as well. Clients and community partners should be encouraged to bring their own masks; however, masks will be available for those who do not have them. These masks should be given to visitors and not recycled for future use by others. Cloth masks, if properly made and worn, can prevent persons from spreading the virus to one another. Medical providers should wear N95 masks. Any patient with COVID-19 symptoms who needs an emergent medical exam should be referred to an emergency department where procedures for isolating patients who are potentially COVID-19 positive have been established. This recommendation is made to avoid contaminating the medical clinic and waiting room.


The child and caregiver should stay in a waiting room without other clients, and the time that the family has contact with staff should be minimized. Advocates are encouraged to conduct as much of their work with clients over the phone if the caregiver feels safe in providing that information in this manner (verification of information, addresses, and discussing what the procedure/forensic interview/CAC appointment will look like, etc.). Tablets will be disinfected between clients. Face-to-face interaction will be limited to that which is absolutely necessary and staff will maximize the distance between advocate and client. Anyone working with papers touched by others should wash their hands regularly. Papers touched by staff, MDT members, clients, or visitors should rest 24 hours before being filed away.


Performing all necessary components of interactions with a family in one location/room (as opposed to moving the family from one room to another to meet with various individuals) is encouraged to limit the number of spaces a family has occupied at the CAC.

 

Addressing Specific Services Offered at CARE House
• Mental health screening should be performed while social/physical distancing, and if possible, over the phone.
• Advocacy should be performed while social/physical distancing, and if possible, over the phone.
• Therapy should be provided via telehealth whenever possible.
• MDT partners, when present during forensic interviews, should practice social distancing and wear masks.
• Forensic interviews should be provided according to MDT/CAC recommendations (either while social/physical distancing, or in separate rooms if capacity allows).
• MDT meetings and case review will be held remotely via phone or via HIPPA-compliant virtual platform (i.e., Zoom).
• MDT pre- and post-forensic interview meetings should be held according to MDT/CAC recommendations (while social/physical distancing).

 

Issues Specific to CARE House Staff
Staggering staff present at CARE House, working off site, social/physical distancing for staff, and disinfecting of common workspaces (see CARE House return to work playbook summary).
CARE House staff will stagger their hours in the office to decrease the number of individuals in the workspace at one time. This way, if one employee falls ill, there are still staff members who can fill in. Employees should be cognizant that their behavior outside of work could potentially affect others in the workspace should they fall ill as a result of not following the guidelines provided by the CDC and your state government.


• Employees should continue to practice social/physical distancing in common areas such as shared spaces (copier and break room).
• High touch areas like doorknobs, copier, microwave, coffee machine and refrigerator will be disinfected twice per day.
• Each staff member is responsible for disinfecting their personal workspace. Supplies will be provided.
• Policies and procedures are provided for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.