Coronavirus (COVID-19): Prevention & Safety Information for Students
Updated March 23, 2020
The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and is closely following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We understand this is a concerning time and people want to protect themselves; standard hygiene practices not only help prevent the spread of these novel viral illnesses, but also more common viruses, such as the flu.
Below are the steps American Red Cross Training Services is taking to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses during classroom activities.
Before the Class
As we always recommend, if you have been ill or have any signs of illness within 24 hours prior to the class (fever, cough, breathing difficulties/shortness of breath, or other symptoms) you should not attend class and instead contact the Red Cross to reschedule your training. When scheduling classes, you will be reminded about rescheduling if you have any symptoms of illness prior to class.
Please be assured that all non-disposable equipment and manikins used during the class will have been cleaned prior to student use. The cleaning process:
- Follows CDC guidance, including updated COVID-19 guidance
- Is based on manufacturers’ directions
- Adheres to use instructions for cleaning products
During the Class
Your instructor will review the procedures we take during all classes to minimize the risk of infection. When using manikins and other training devices, we will follow these practices:
- Participants and instructors should wash their hands between each use of a training device with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Gloves will be worn for all skills practice.
- There will be 6 feet of separation of students and instructors at all times, as well as no physical contact for the skills pertaining to: assessment, choking, direct pressure, and bandaging.
- An updated 1:1 student-to-manikin ratio will apply, along with a 1:1 student-to-AED training device ratio, or end-of-class level cleaning for AED training devices between students.
- Each student will use their own breathing barrier when practicing on a manikin
Appropriate cleaning of all class materials and surfaces, based on CDC guidance and the manufacturers’ approved processes for those cleaning products.
- All manikins are cleaned using an approved process after each class. The cleaning process follows CDC guidance, the manikin manufacturer’s directions, and the process recommended by the cleaning product manufacturers.
- Any other non-disposable equipment is also cleaned following CDC guidance and the manufacturer’s directions.
When Providing First Aid Care
First aid providers caring for people with suspected COVID-19 should follow standard precautions. If possible, have the sick person place a face mask over their nose and mouth, if they have not done so already, and limit contact by staying back at least 6 feet, if possible, until that person has done so.
- Try to limit the number of individuals in contact with the sick person. Those who provide direct care for someone who may have COVID-19 should wear respiratory protection (e.g. N-95 mask), eye protection, disposable gloves and a disposable isolation gown, if possible. Updated CDC guidance allows for alternatives to respirators (N-95) in communities where there is a shortage of respirators.
- Following care, first aid providers should perform hand hygiene as they would normally do and discard personal protective equipment (PPE) following usual procedures.
- While wearing PPE, clean and disinfect items which have touched the patient. After cleaning, dispose of PPE and perform hand hygiene.
When Performing CPR:
- The risk of disease transmission is extremely low while performing CPR--especially when using a breathing barrier.
- If you are uncomfortable or haven’t been trained to perform traditional CPR, have someone call 9-1-1 and start Hands-Only CPR (continuous chest compressions without any mouth to mouth contact) until someone else takes over or emergency help arrives.
- Use protective gloves, if available.
- Surfaces should be cleaned using a detergent, or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions (1/3 cup unexpired bleach per gallon of water), alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective
- Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.) In their absence, products with label claims against human coronaviruses or other viruses should be used according to label instructions.
- For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs and drapes, remove visible contamination if present, and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces.
- Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry completely, or use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are suitable for porous surfaces.
- If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
- Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
- If clothing cannot be immediately laundered, store in a sealed disposable bag.
For First Aid Providers
Providers with contact with persons known or suspected to have COVID-19 should monitor themselves for symptoms, (fever, cough, breathing difficulties/shortness of breath, or other symptoms). If these symptoms occur, they should self-isolate and immediately contact their healthcare provider.