PHASE-Industries COVID-19 Program Plan
Revised 01/12/2022 (Version 12)
See aqua highlights for key additions to Plan.
PHASE-Industries is committed to providing a safe and healthy program and workplace for our program participants and staff. To ensure that, we have developed the following Preparedness Plan specific to the Covid-19 pandemic. This Plan is designed to be a dynamic document, meaning that it will be updated and modified as new information and “best practices” emerge specific to COVID-19. Managers and staff members are all responsible for implementing and monitoring this plan.
COVID-19 is a relatively new and highly infectious respiratory disease, which began spreading in the U.S. in early 2020. This plan outlines policies and procedures for both workforce and program participants to minimize exposure risks, promptly identify COVID-19 symptoms, and safely respond when exposure/infection is suspected. This Plan is posted at each PHASE-Industries licensed site, and is available on our webpage (www.phase-industries.org). Please look for any updates to the Plan at either of these locations.
This Plan supplements existing PHASE-Industries policies and procedures.
How COVID-19 Spreads:
People can spread the COVID-19 disease to each other.
The disease is thought to spread by nose and mouth droplets when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes or exhales.
The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. It may be possible for people to breathe the droplets into their lungs. When possible, try to stay 6 feet away from other people in public. At home, someone who is sick should stay alone, in one room, as much as possible.
Droplets can land on surfaces and objects that other people then touch. It is important to wash your hands before you touch your mouth, nose, face or eyes. Clean surfaces that are touched often. Clean surfaces often if someone in the house is sick.
Infected people may be able to spread the disease before they have symptoms or feel sick.
COVID-19 Symptoms, Severity & High Risk Factors:
Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after you are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms.
Many people with COVID-19 have mild illness. However, anyone can become severely ill from this virus.
Based on current information and experience, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions have a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Ask your health care provider if you have greater risk of getting sicker.
People at higher risk of developing severe outcomes of COVID-19:
Individuals with underlying medical conditions or other factors (below) are at higher risk of developing severe outcomes of COVID-19. Severe outcomes are defined as hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death. Guidance issued by the CDC Identify “at-risk persons/higher-risk persons” as described below:
- Age 65 and older.
- Living in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
- Any age if they have underlying health conditions, especially if the conditions are not well controlled:
- Chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Cystic Fibrosis or Pulmonary Hypertension.
- Serious heart conditions.
- Down Syndrome
- Diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2).
- Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
- Liver disease.
- Pregnant and recently pregnant people (42 days following end of pregnancy).
- Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia.
- Stroke or Cerebrovascular Disease.
- Substance Use Disorders.
- Immunocompromised. Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
Most people with disabilities are not more likely to become infected with or have severe illness from COVID-19. However, some people with disabilities might be more likely to get infected or have severe illness because of underlying medical conditions, congregate living settings, or systemic health and social inequities. All people with serious underlying chronic medical conditions like chronic lung disease, a serious heart condition, or a weakened immune system seem to be more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a stroke.
PHASE-Industries strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccinations for every employee and program participant. COVID-19 vaccines are readily available in all Minnesota communities. According to the CDC, “COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection, serious illness, and death. All currently approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and reduce risk of severe illness. Vaccination can reduce the spread of disease, which helps protect those who get vaccinated and the people around them. Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron Variant. Even when people who are fully vaccinated develop symptoms of COVID-19, they tend to be less severe than in people who are unvaccinated.”
This Plan includes important protocols that are different for fully vaccinated individuals (i.e., up-to-date on all CDC recommended COVID-19 vaccination doses, including any boosters) compared to unvaccinated individuals. If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, speak to your health care provider, Human Resources, or schedule directly online through Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector website (https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/connector/index.jsp). Vaccines are absolutely free, and PHASE-Industries will ensure you have flexibility in your schedule to attend your vaccination appointment(s). All PHASE-Industries staff members are required to report their COVID-19 vaccination status to Human Resources.
MN-DHS asks providers and lead agencies to provide information to people receiving services and staff who are hesitant to receive a vaccine. Resources include:
- CDC-Key Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines:
- CDC-COVID 19 Vaccinations Work:
- CDC-Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine:
- CDC-Myths and Facts about the COVID-19 Vaccine:
Service Resumption & Other Considerations
PHASE-Industries is fully open, and resuming services at a pace that is person-centered, consistent with staffing resources, and in consideration of current remaining regulatory and public health requirements and guidance.
Remote Work and Services for Individuals
1. A Remote Services option remains available for individuals interested in this option (contact the assigned Designated Manager if interested).
2. PHASE-Industries recognizes that some positions may be able to carry out certain work functions by working from home (remotely) temporarily in an effort to promote continued social distancing, and encourages those employees to learn about this potential accommodation through Human Resources.
All PHASE-Industries staff will be trained on the COVID-19 Preparedness and related Policies and Procedures during orientation, and notified of any subsequent changes.
Health and Safety Protocols (Note: These protocols are subject to change, and may be different in different geographical regions, based on key COVID-19 prevalence and risk measures, such as county case positivity rates, level of community transmission, county vaccination rates, etc.).
PHASE-Industries will adhere to the following procedures:
1. Ensure those who are sick stay home. Any program participant, staff member or volunteer should stay home or seek the attention of a healthcare professional if they are sick. Do not enter a PHASE-Industries site, vehicle or program if sick.
2. Face Masks:
- KN95 (or better) face masks, unless exempted, shall be required for all persons regardless of vaccination status, inside licensed PHASE-Industries sites, during PHASE-Industries transportation services (including beginning-of-day, end-of-day and in-program transportation), and during the course of any program services provided indoors, except as noted below.
- PHASE-Industries shall abide by the infection control policies of the community business/entity when working with or on the premises of that entity. Staff and program participants will follow the PHASE-Industries infection control policies, in the event they are more stringent (Exception: program participants may follow by their community employer’s infection control policies when receiving PHASE-Industries supports in competitive integrated employment, even if those are less stringent than PHASE-Industries’ policies. Staff members must continue to follow PHASE-Industries protocols).
- Face masks must be worn at all times during work or PHASE-Industries services, except in limited circumstances (e.g., when outside and able to maintain adequate separation from other persons, while eating/drinking, while working alone in a non-shared space such as an individual office).
There are exceptions/exemptions from wearing an approved face mask as identified above, such as a verifiable health or other condition that is subject to an employee request and approval through Human Resources for a reasonable accommodation, a disability or medical condition that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering, circumstances where a clear face covering or no face covering is required to communicate with others in the course of services, circumstances where wearing an approved face mask would create a job hazard as determined by regulators, while eating or drinking, if unconscious or experiencing a medical emergency/illness that necessitates the absence of a face covering. Alternatives to face coverings, such as use of a clear face shield, may be considered in limited circumstances, as face shields are significantly less effective than approved face masks.
Staff may encourage breaks from face coverings by going outside, and promoting sufficient social distancing (i.e., six-feet between persons). Due to the extremely high transmissibility rate of the Omicron Variant, beginning 1/18/2022, PHASE-Industries only recognizes KN95 (or better grade, such as an N95 respirator without exhaust valve) as approved face masks.
3. Provide accommodations for “high risk” and vulnerable populations. Vulnerable individuals are encouraged to self-identify (however, PHASE-Industries will avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries). PHASE-Industries will take particular care to reduce risk of exposure to these individuals.
4. Ensure program participants, staff, volunteers and visitors regularly wash their hands. PHASE-Industries will reinforce handwashing routines upon entering a program, as well as after having been in a public place, prior to & after eating, after using the toilet, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Handwashing should consist of washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Handwashing and “cover your cough” signs shall be posted within licensed sites.
5. Community drinking stations and water fountains will not be available for use. Personal bottled water, touchless water-filling stations or water filled from the faucet are acceptable.
Site Entry & Work Location Screening Protocols
- Instructions shall be posted at entrances informing people:
- Not to enter if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
- To wash or sanitize their hands upon arrival;
- To wear face covering;
- Follow posted directions within the site.
All people visiting a licensed PHASE-Industries site must sign-in with their name and date. This includes all PHASE-Industries program participants and staff not normally scheduled to the site, along with all visitors and vendors
Any individual presenting respiratory symptoms, fever, and/or meet the criteria developed by PHASE-Industries to be categorized as a risk to human health, as it relates to Covid-19, shall not enter and will be denied access to the PHASE-Industries site and vehicles. Affected individuals shall immediately isolate and contact the appropriate PHASE-Industries personnel to determine how to proceed with subsequent precautions.
Visitors-PHASE-Industries may limit visitors to licensed sites to the extent feasible. All visitors (e.g., deliveries) and volunteers will be directed via signage at the building’s entrance on safe protocols for that site.
Physical plant and space requirements Protocols
A 6-foot minimum distance shall be promoted between all individuals while onsite, to the extent possible in relation to support for the program participant or the task at hand.
To the extent possible, staff and program participants should minimize working or interacting across multiple groups of individuals. This will help reduce risk of cross-contamination between groups in the event an individual contracts COVID-19.
1. All drivers, riders and staff must wear an approved face mask during transportation (unless alone in the vehicle). The 3/23/2021 CDC facemask requirement of drivers and riders of public transportation is still in full force, with limited exceptions (e.g., child under the age of two years, person with a disability who cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety or job duty as determined by relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations, a person taking medication, eating or drinking for a brief period of time, persons communicating for a brief period of time with a person who is hearing impaired and the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication, a person who is unconscious, unable to be awakened, has a medical emergency requiring removal of mask, otherwise unable to remove mask without assistance).
2. Staff will ensure each vehicle is continuously stocked PPE kit upon signing out a PHASE-Industries vehicle. The PPE kit includes face masks, face shield, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, no touch or one-use thermometer and a small trash receptacle.
3. Staff will promote vehicle ventilation settings that maximizes outside air exchange, including keeping windows cracked/opened as feasible, setting vent/air/heat setting to outside air exchange (as able), and utilizing portable air purifiers.
4. PHASE-Industries shall follow the COVID-19 Plan of each public transit agency used for transportation. In the event the public transit agency’s COVID-19 requirements are less stringent than those of PHASE-Industries, we will follow the public agency’s COVID-19 requirements, as long as they are compliant with regulatory agencies and health guidelines. An individual who presents a COVID-19 exposure risk and/or symptom(s) will be denied access to the vehicle.
Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Ventilation Protocols:
All areas of each facility and PHASE-Industries vehicles (in use) will be disinfected regularly. All personnel shall participate in cleaning and sanitizing common areas.
High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, stair rails, counters, tables and chairs, phones, keyboards, program equipment and other shared items should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Use of shared supplies shall be minimized.
The Transportation and Maintenance Manager shall use MN OSHA and MN DOLI guidelines to inspect and upgrade, as applicable, facility and vehicle ventilation filters and systems (See Exhibit B for guidelines).
Quarantine, Isolation & Testing Guidelines:
Return to Work/Services for Employees & Participants Testing Positive for COVID-19
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status ("up-to-date" on vaccines* (i.e., boosters), partially vaccinated**, or unvaccinated)
Isolate for 10 days or, 7 days with negative test (within 48 hours of returning to work and no earlier than 5 days after testing positive) AND, no fever at least 24 hours of returning to work (without fever-reducing medication) AND, substantial improvement in symptoms.
Work Requirements for Asymptomatic Employees with Close Contact
"Up-to-date" on Vaccinations (i.e., Boosted)
No work restrictions if asymptomatic.
If you develop symptoms, then quarantine and do not return to work until: at least 5 days have passed since onset of symptoms AND, a negative test within 48 hours of returning to work (no earlier than 5 days since close contact) AND, no fever for at least 24 hours prior to returning to work (without fever-reducing medication) AND, substantial improvement in symptoms.
Partially vaccinated, unvaccinated (even if within 90-days of prior infection)
Quarantine for 5 days with negative test within 48 hours of returning to work (taken on day 5).
If you develop symptoms during quarantine, do not return to work until: at least 5 days have passed since onset of symptoms AND, a negative test within 48 hours of returning to work (no earlier than 5 days since close contact) AND, no fever for at least 24 hours prior to returning to work (without fever-reducing medication) AND, substantial improvement in symptoms.
Return to Services for Asymptomatic Participants with Close Contact
"Up-to-date" on Vaccinations (i.e., Boosted)
No service restrictions if asymptomatic.
If you develop symptoms, then quarantine and do not return to services until: at least 5 days have passed since onset of symptoms AND, a negative test within 48 hours of returning to work (no earlier than 5 days since close contact) AND, no fever for at least 24 hours prior to returning to work (without fever-reducing medication) AND, substantial improvement in symptoms.
Partially vaccinated, unvaccinated (even if within 90-days of prior infection)
Quarantine for 5 days with negative test (taken on day 5) and no symptoms, or quarantine for 7 days with no test and no symptoms.
If you develop symptoms, then isolate and do not return to services until: at least 5 days have passed since onset of symptoms AND, a negative test within 48 hours of returning to work (no earlier than 5 days since close contact) AND, no fever for at least 24 hours prior to returning to work (without fever-reducing medication) AND, substantial improvement in symptoms. OR, 2) no test and at least 7 days have passed since symptom onset and, no fever for at least 24 hours prior to returning (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and, substantial improvement in symptoms.
*As of 01/11/2022, CDC defines "Up-to-date" vaccination status to include:
primary 2-dose series of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine PLUS a booster dose at least 5 months after your primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
primary 2-dose series of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine PLUS a booster dose at least 6 months after your primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
Primary single dose PLUS a booster dose at least 2 months after your primary COVID-19 vaccination.
**"Partially Vaccinated" Definition
Any point in time when an individual does not meet the definition of "up-to-date" on vaccinations.
"Negative Test" Definition & Information:
A confirmed negative COVID-19 result by Human Resources of an approved FDA diagnostic test (e.g., Antigen, NAAT). According to the CDC, those who have had a confirmed COVID-19 Test within 90 days should receive an Antigen Test. It is the employee's responsibility to procure and produce approved test results to Human Resources. Employees are strongly encouraged to communicate with Human Resources PRIOR TO ordering a COVID-19 test.
For calculating day of test: 1) for those with infection consider day of symptom onset (or first positive test if asymptomatic) as day zero (0); 2) for those with exposure consider day of exposure as day zero (0).
Please note, do not report to work or services if you are sick.
The Isolation, Quarantining and Testing guidelines above are subject to change, based on evolving recommendations from regulatory agencies, along with PHASE-Industries contingency actions.
1. Detailed Procedure when a Program Participant Exhibits COVID-19 Symptoms: If a program participant exhibits COVID-19 symptoms while in the PHASE-Industries building or program, then staff will isolate the individual, with appropriate supervision, in the identified isolation room (per site) located within the facility. Only one staff shall support the individual, and ensure they and the program participant utilize use of the site’s N95 or KN95 mask, if an N95 mask is not immediately available. Staff shall work to arrange the transport home or to another predetermined safe location away from the PHASE-Industries facility/program site.
The staff shall ensure a supervisor is notified immediately when an individual exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. The supervisor will immediately report to the Designated Contact below. The Designated Contact will ensure notification to individuals served, staff, legal representatives, case managers, and residential providers. Notifications must adhere to data privacy policies and HIPAA.
Close Contact is defined as:
Within six (6) feet for 15 or more cumulative minutes per day, or
Provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, or
Had direct physical contact (e.g., hugging or kissing) with someone sick with COVID-19, or
Shared eating or drinking utensils with someone sick with COVID-19, or
Coughed/sneezed on, or somehow got directly exposed to respiratory droplets by someone sick with COVID-19.
Lives with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
2. All employees and program participants (or residential providers) shall provide notice of any individual who develops symptoms and/or is confirmed for Covid-19 for up to 7 days following their visit to PHASE-Industries services. If individuals are determined to have been potentially contagious while at the PHASE-Industries site, protocol for confirmed cases will be followed as laid out in this document.
3. If individuals are determined to have been potentially contagious while at the community site, protocol for confirmed cases will be followed as laid out in this document. If an employee or other member of a community site tests positive, PHASE-Industries will ensure unvaccinated/partially vaccinated program participants and employees who have been in “close contact” leave the site in a safe manner and quarantine as outlined in this Plan. Return to the site will be determined on an individual basis
4. Confirmed case of COVID-19 for a program participant, employee, or person living with a program participant or employee (when the program participant or employee is not “up-to-date” on their COVID-19 vaccinations): The Designated Contact shall work to notify all staff and program participants who were in “close contact” immediately, in addition to those required to be notified by Minnesota Department of Health and MN MS245D standards. Notification procedures shall adhere to data privacy & HIPAA policies.
- If the affected person is offsite, the affected person will be instructed to stay home and will not be allowed onsite until isolation or quarantining standards are met.
- The affected person is an employee, volunteer or visitor, they will immediately isolate in designated space away from others or immediately leave the premises as feasible.
- The Designated Contact will gain an understanding of potential locations and individuals the affected person had been in contact with over the last 5 days through a phone conversation with the individual or the individual’s residential provider/guardian.
- All individuals not “up-to-date” on their COVID-19 vaccinations, who had “close contact” with positively tested person within the last 48 hours will be directed and supported to immediately leave from site (and isolate on-site if immediate departure is not possible), and will self-monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 and follow the protocols outlined in Section M.
- The PHASE-Industries affected area shall be thoroughly disinfected prior to its full return to use.
- As determined within the investigation process, individuals determined to not have been affected, including fully vaccinated individuals as applicable, can continue working onsite so long as it does not affect sanitizing efforts, there are adequate staff to meet program participant/staff ratios, and it is approved by PHASE-Industries leadership.
The internal reporting procedure requires employees to immediately notify the supervisor (with live, two-way communication) in the case of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, following the chain of command and ensuring the Designated Contact below is immediately notified:
Non-Supervisory Personnel – Report immediately to Supervisor, using
Chain-of-Command to ensure a live, two-way communication occurs.
Assigned Supervisor (DC, DM, Lead) – Reports immediately to the Designated Contact Below:
Designated Contact & Individual to maintain communication with and gather information from staff or volunteers who may be ill, or exposed to COVID-19:
Human Resource Director (HRD) – Joyce LaMere
(O) 320-245-2246 ext. 1126
(C) 952-994-3836 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Designated Contact & individual to maintain communication with and gather information from program participants or others who may be ill, or exposed to COVID-19:
Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Curt Mangan
(O) 320-629-7805 ext. 1201
(C) 612-618-3683 Email: email@example.com
Designated Contacts to report all notifications, quarantining/isolation, contact tracing, and a summary of actions and findings to the Executive Director – Tim Schmutzer
Other Infection Control Protocols & Considerations at PHASE-Industries Sites
- Encourage sick employees and program participants to stay home: Anyone with symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
- Wear an Approved Face Mask/Face Covering in the circumstances outlined in this plan.
- Social Distancing: Promote maximizing distance between you and others, to the extent possible. Always socially distance (6 feet or more from others) if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Meetings: Large mass meetings may be held through Microsoft Teams, Go-To-Meeting, Zoom or another virtual meeting provider as appropriate.
- Mobile Devices/Shared Computers: Mobile devices and computers should be sanitized before and after each visit to the site.
- Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized regularly
- Workers responsible for trash removal will maintain proper PPE/hand washing practices
- Hand wash stations will be maintained with soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels
- All individuals on site will be expected to participate in extra cleanings for frequently touched surfaces (light switches, tables, chairs, door handles, etc.)
7. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- Do not share PPE.
- Sanitize reusable PPE per manufacturer’s recommendation before and after each use.
- Ensure used PPE is disposed of properly.
Cleaning & Disinfectant Protocols
Workplace cleaning and disinfection protocols
Establish a documented sanitation schedule and checklist, identifying surfaces/equipment to be sanitized, the agent to be used, and the frequency at which sanitation occurs.
Routinely clean and disinfect all areas, such as offices, restrooms, locker and changing rooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment, machinery, tools, controls, etc.
Frequently clean all high-touch items, such as doorknobs, countertops, barriers, railings, handles, and other surfaces.
Electronic devices (e.g. light-switches, circuit-breakers) should not be sanitized with a liquid agent. Consider covering switches/devices with a poly-covering that allows the user to manipulate the device without touching the switch, and change out the poly-covering frequently. Electronic devices must be sanitized only when disconnected from the power-source, and sanitized in accordance with the listing/labeling requirements.
Personal equipment, tools and phones should not be shared or, if shared, should be disinfected after each use.
Implement immediate cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace if a worker, client or visitor becomes ill with COVID-19. See CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
Select appropriate and ensure the needed supply of disinfectants – consider effectiveness and safety. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) List N has identified a list of products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. See EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 here: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19
Review product labels and Safety Data Sheets, follow manufacturer specifications, and use required personal protective equipment for the product.
OR, 2) no test and at least 7 days have passed since symptom onset and, no fever for at least 24 hours prior to returning (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and, substantial improvement in symptoms.