Updated: 4 days ago
As of late November 2020, a COVID-19 vaccine seems to be just on the horizon. While this fact is incredibly positive, it does not mean that businesses should start to relax their mitigatory practices. While a vaccine should begin to lower the surges of coronavirus cases we have seen, this adjustment may not take effect for quite a while to come.
As an energy-efficiency provider mainly for low-income properties, our methodology for tackling COVID-19 has stayed consistent. We follow all the CDC's recommended guidelines, consistently improve our practices, and find meaningful solutions to any concerns or issues that unexpectedly arise during this tumultuous time. Early on, we started to produce masks in-house and still distribute them to the properties we work with. Many low-income households struggle with acquiring the resources they need to stay safe during the pandemic-especially in the early days of its existence. We believe that, despite the loss and controversy throughout the past year, people have become more community conscious and empathetic to one another. We could not expect that the communities we serve have access to masks when they were almost impossible to get ahold of.
If you would like to order a mask or request free masks for someone in need, you can still do so on our website at www.anuraenergy.org/masks.
During this project, we did not attempt to go to work at properties until we had a better understanding of the virus and better practices and inventory of PPE to do so in a safe manner. During our break from the field, we did meticulous research to draw together an action plan for what starting work at properties would look like. We came up with a 3-pronged approach. First, we needed to get the information out there. By 'out there,' we mean we distributed information to our teams internally, the properties and property owners, and other relevant parties, including the public. We aim to be as transparent as possible regarding our goals while working through the pandemic and have put more significant effort into our online presence to do so. For more information relating to our safety and sanitation practices in the field, check out the video on our homepage, or find the video below.
Once reliable information came out regarding proper sanitation and safety practices, we started training our technicians and office staff on COVID-19 and work-site safety using online e-learning software. This methodology made it easier to distribute the necessary information to our current team, potential future candidates, and partners. We consistently update our e-learning courses to include the most up-to-date information regarding our practices and COVID-19 so that no one misses out on important information. Simultaneously, we developed methodologies for contact-tracing and daily health screenings to ensure our team acts as safely as possible. We gather accurate information about which team members are present, where they have gone throughout the day, and whom they had potential contact with.
With all of this information in mind, we trained our field supervisors to understand and implement these practices. They also ensure that all technicians at a work-site have their PPE kits and wear them per our standards throughout the entire workday. Our teams of technicians have been divided into unique groups per work-task, meaning if a technician shows any symptoms of illness, we know exactly whom they could have exposed.
The measures we take to mitigate coronavirus risk factors while staying open are informed, enforced, and practiced extensively. Moreover, we keep COVID-19 protective measures as our highest priority and consistently refine our strategies.
Earlier in this article, we wrote that an adjustment might not take effect for quite a while. While we like to stay optimistic, we have to tailor that optimism with reality, given what we currently know. Our industry centers around going to properties and doing energy efficiency work. We're no strangers to interacting with tenants and property owners. While we are currently limiting our work to efficiency upgrades outside units - such as attic work - it is impossible to prevent tenants from walking down a hallway, for example, or other low-level interactive situations.
Coronavirus vaccines might start to roll out soon, but we are still uncertain about their availability as well as who will have access to them and when. We are also unsure how many shots the vaccine will consist of (1 or 2), which can further complicate the matter and lead to a slower flattening of the curve than some might expect. Current reporting of potential side effects from taking the vaccine can also put those who take it in a symptomatic state and increase exposure if not mitigated. Historically, minority and low-income households have had less access to adequate healthcare and tend to have less vaccination coverage. Given that we work primarily in these communities, we have been and continue to be attentive to these understandings and continue to uphold our strict safety and prevention standards. We will update our website with the most current information available and how it relates to our practices.
Corum, Jonathan, Sui-lee Wee, and Carl Zimmer. “Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker.” The New York Times. The New York Times, June 10, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html.
Ollove, Michael. “How to Boost Vaccine Rates for Low-Income Families.” How to Boost Vaccine Rates for Low Income Families | The Pew Charitable Trusts, October 5, 2018. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/10/05/how-to-boost-vaccine-rates-for-low-income-families.
Wadman, Meredith. “Public Needs to Prep for Vaccine Side Effects.” Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science, November 27, 2020. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6520/1022.