Emergency and Environmental Health Collaborations: COVID-19 Response

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ATSDR’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) provides lifesaving guidance for emergency responders, schools, and businesses during the pandemic.

OEM served as a central coordination point for center-led emergency responses and represented environmental health issues for CDC-wide emergency activations. OEM leads the COVID-19 Environmental Health Task Force, which provides technical expertise including the following:

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Guidance on reopening schools and businesses related to cleaning and disinfecting

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Guidance on emerging issues such as unsafe alternative therapies and overexposure to chemical disinfectants

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Recommendations for disaster relief operations based on best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19

OEM has developed numerous environmental health guidance, health communications, and other products for the COVID-19 response. Throughout the 2020 hurricane season, OEM led the CDC Hurricane Planning Work Group within the COVID-19 response structure to adapt CDC disaster plans and response activities as needed. OEM assessed and implemented disaster shelter guidance, incorporating new best practices to address the spread of COVID-19. OEM also faced and overcame similar challenges to provide updated emergency response direction and relief after natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

Page last reviewed: December 29, 2021