Outdoor Spaces & Parking Lots
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend outdoor activities, whenever possible, to reduce the spread of the virus. Outdoor settings generally pose a lower risk than indoor settings, as respiratory droplets can quickly and more easily be dispersed into the fresh air. But, despite the overall benefits of outdoor clinics, this means you’ll need to be prepared to face all kinds of weather conditions. Stock up on salt spreaders and ice melt to keep walkways safe for both patients and staff, and outfit the location with outdoor canopies to safeguard against inclement weather. Create easy-to-follow markings and barriers with line stripers and traffic cones to direct traffic flow and promote overall crowd control. Speed bumps with cable protectors are wise to consider, too: not only to protect pedestrians and drivers in high traffic areas, but to also make it possible to plug in power cords for all needed electrical equipment.
Drive-Through & Curbside Clinics
Research has indicated that crowds or large gatherings can increase the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, so it comes as no surprise that drive-through and curbside clinics offer a viable choice for both patient and staff safety. A wellness check station should greet drivers at the start of the clinic for temperature checks, registration, and payment. Every drive-up area thereafter should be clearly marked and well-stocked with the essentials, including service and utility carts for storing needed medical items and two-way radios to communicate any inventory or staffing changes. Prepare for dips in the temperature — or unexpected power outages ― with portable heaters, lights, and generators. Make sure to also designate a waiting area where vaccinated drivers can be monitored prior to hitting the road again to reduce the potential for injury in the event of an adverse reaction.
Extra care and due diligence will go a long way when preparing a walk-through clinic for COVID-19 vaccinations. Crowd control stanchions will be especially important for creating one-way traffic flow, helping to remind patients and staff to maintain a distance of six feet whenever possible. Other modifications will need to be thoughtfully and carefully planned out, based on local, state, and federal protocols. Some starting points include desks and counters at registration and screening areas, outfitted with cashier shields for added protection; ample seating in waiting areas, positioned at evenly-spaced distances apart; and partitions and dividers at all vaccination stations to maintain overall safety and privacy.
Whether indoors or outdoors, protecting the health of both patients and staff should be considered at every aspect of your facility or operation — from the moment they arrive, to the moment they exit. Stock up on cleaning and disinfecting supplies to regularly clean and sterilize all stations and surfaces, including frequently touched objects, such as keyboards, doorknobs, telephones, and workstations. Face shields and disposable face masks should be readily available for staff, along with cloth face coverings for patients who arrive without one. Other needed supplies include hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol, non-contact digital infrared thermometers for temperature screens, and medical basics such as alcohol prep pads and adhesive bandages for vaccine administration.
Storage & Handling
Help your clinic or facility run as smoothly and efficiently as possible by taking the time to organize your medical equipment and supplies. Consider medicine cabinets, shelving units, bins, and totes — with features such as lockable doors, height adjustable shelves, and stackable designs — to ensure all items are easily accounted for and secured in their designated areas. Wire service and utility carts will also come in handy to transport items from one area of the clinic to the next, or help to keep priority items within reach. Remember: the more organized your clinic or facility, the more seamless the experience will be for both patients and staff.
When it comes to vaccines, maintaining proper temperature is critical. Vaccines that are exposed to temperatures outside of the recommended ranges can lead to a host of problems, including reduced efficacy and protection, which can result in thousands of dollars spent revaccinating patients and replacing vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list specific guidelines* for proper vaccine storage and handling, recommending purpose-built or pharmaceutical-grade units for optimal temperature control. Each unit should be equipped with enough space to accommodate your maximum inventory, along with a temperature monitoring device (TMD) or digital data logger (DDL) to record and closely monitor any fluctuations or out-of-range changes. *Note: Please refer to the CDC's "Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit" for full, detailed specifications.
Medical & Waste Disposal
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of healthcare as we know it, requiring medical facilities and clinics to adopt new layouts, protocols, and procedures to accommodate social distancing guidelines. While new items and equipment will undoubtedly be needed to adapt to these changes, basic medical essentials should still be top priority when planning your day-to-day workflow ― especially when it comes to throwing away or recycling items in and around your clinic. Make sure to cover all the bases, from sharps containers and biohazardous waste cans for proper medical disposal* to tilt trucks and step-on garbage cans for non-medical items.*Note: Please follow all local, state, and federal guidelines for the most up-to-date guidelines.