RCO Covid-19 Pandemic Response

Action and Prevention Plan

Revised March 2022

This Action and Prevention Plan details procedures to prevent and minimize hazards to human health as it relates to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This document is prepared to describe implementation of precautionary and response measures to execute work safely and effectively by RCO Opportunities (RCO) employees and clients. 

This Plan will be a living document, to be updated as often as new information regarding the Pandemic is released. This Plan attempts to capture specific actions, prevention plans, and procedures to address emergencies resulting from COVID-19. The provisions of the Plan will be implemented on-site and emergency action will be taken during any event that may threaten human health at the RCO site or any of the community sites where RCO employees or clients are employed. 

This Action and Prevention Plan supplements the existing RCO Safety Policy. 

In recognition of the latest Covid-19 update from the CDC, February 25, 2022, this plan is being modified as follows effective Wednesday, March 2, 2022. 

With current high levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity from both vaccination and infections, the risk of medically significant disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most people. At the same time, we know that some people and communities, such as our oldest citizens, people who are immunocompromised, and people with disabilities, are at higher risk for serious illness and face challenging decisions navigating a world with COVID-19. 

In addition to protecting those at highest risk of severe outcomes, focusing on reducing medically significant illness and minimizing strain on the healthcare system reflects our current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection, immunity from vaccination and infection, and the tools we have available. Vaccines are highly protective against severe disease, and continuing to expand vaccine coverage and ensuring people are up to date with vaccination is essential to protecting individuals against hospitalizations and deaths. 

Health officials and individuals should consider current information about COVID-19 hospitalizations in the community, as well as the potential for strain on the local health system and COVID-19 cases in the community, when making decisions about community prevention strategies and individual behaviors. Communities and individuals should also make decisions based on whether they are at high risk for severe disease and take into account inequities in access to prevention strategies.

COVID-19 Community Levels can help communities and individuals make decisions based on their local context and their unique needs. Community vaccination coverage and other local information, like early alerts from surveillance, such as through wastewater or the number of emergency department visits for COVID-19, when available, can also inform decision making for health officials and individuals. 

MDH and CDC recommend everyone, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear a mask in the following situations: 

All visitors and volunteers must report to the front office. Items that need to be dropped off for a client can be left at the front office. When arriving to pick up a client or another individual, please report to the front office to be checked in. 

Definition: At Risk Persons
Consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), “at- risk persons” include people who are: 

  1. 65 years and older. 
  2. Living in a nursing home or a long-term care facility, as defined by the Commissioner of Health. 
  3. Any age with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
    • People who have serious heart conditions.
    • People who are immunocompromised (caused by cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications).
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher).
    • People with diabetes.
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
    • People with liver disease 

Individuals’ Rights
The Minnesota DHS Commissioner is temporarily modifying Minnesota Statutes, section 245D.04, subdivision 2 pertaining to a person’s service-related rights by adding a new clause: A person’s service-related rights include the right to: 

(10) make an informed choice about whether to receive day services in the licensed facility/community or to “stay-at-home” and receive no day services or receive services remotely during the peacetime emergency to minimize their exposure to COVID-19. This right exists even if the person does not meet the definition of an “at-risk person” under Emergency Executive Order 20-55, paragraph 2. 

Masks, Precautions and Vaccinations
All individuals, vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be required to wear a mask at all times while in an RCO vehicle. Based on current CDC guidelines, individuals may wear a mask if they choose at any other time while at RCO, but it will not be required. RCO will continue to request that all individuals who enter RCO and plan to be in the building for longer than 10 minutes perform a temperature check and answer three screening questions. 

People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. 

This Response Action and Prevention Plan meets the requirement that license holders of day services for adults with disabilities must establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as set forth in Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan in Executive Order 21-21. 

Remote Services for Individuals
MN DHS Bulletin #20-48-01 allows for Temporary Remote services. These services must adhere to the Bulletin guidance.

Symptoms of COVID-19
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 (this list does not include all possible symptoms): 

  • 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 

Exclusion from RCO 

If a person receiving services or a staff person tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, the license holder must follow the MDH and CDC guidelines specific to the situation and program capabilities. The following guidance from CDC will be used to determine if an individual needs to remain away from the RCO building, vehicles, and/or community job sites: 

1) Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public. 

2) If an individual tests positive for COVID OR suspects they may have COVID, that individual can be with others after: 

  • At least 5 days since symptoms first appeared and 
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and 
  • Symptoms have improved 

3) If an individual tests positive for COVID but does not have and never had symptoms, that individual can be with others after: 

  • 5 days have passed since test 

4) If an individual has a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or medication, that individual may need to remain away from others longer than otherwise recommended. These individuals should consult their doctor for guidance. 

Reporting Procedures & Confirmed Cases
All positively confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 should be reported to the following as soon as possible: Administrative Director and/or Program Director. 

Voluntary Temporary Facility Closure. RCO leadership will implement a temporary facility closure if circumstances related to COVID-19 prevent the safe delivery of services. These circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • COVID-19 exposure or infection in multiple cohorts 
  • Inability to maintain minimum staffing ratios 
  • Non-participation by service recipients due to COVID-19 exposure or infection 

Staff Training
All RCO staff and employees will be trained on the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Action and Prevention Plan during orientation and as needed thereafter. 

Best Practices Being Continuously Implemented at RCO’s Site 

  • Encourage sick employees and clients to stay home: Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should notify their supervisor and stay home. Individuals who feel ill or have symptoms of being ill should remain home. Individuals who become ill during the day while at RCO will be asked to return home and arrangements for transportation will be made. 
  • Face masks will be worn by all individuals in RCO vehicles, and as individuals choose while working indoors with RCO clients and/or staff, or in the RCO building. 
  • All seating in the RCO building is spaced to maximize the space between persons receiving services. 
  • RCO will follow current MnDOT guidelines on the number of individuals each vehicle can safely accommodate. 
  • Building space and vehicles will be sanitized after use following current CDC guidelines. 
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as recommended by CDC.