As temperatures continue to rise across the state, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds Californians that extreme heat is a major public health concern. Exposure to extreme heat can cause a variety of health problems, including heat stroke and death. Cooling Centers (a cool site or air-conditioned facility designed to provide relief and protection during extreme heat) are used by many communities to protect health during heat events.
However, the use of Cooling Centers can potentially provide a way for COVID-19 to spread, among both visitors and staff.
“When the temperature gets hot, being in a cool place is essential to protect the health of older adults and those with underlying medical conditions,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. “If you, a neighbor or loved one is without air conditioning and isolated at home, consider a Cooling Center in your community. This year, Cooling Centers are being designed with reducing the risk of exposure to COVID 19 in mind.”
The California Department of Public Health has issued Guidance for Cooling Centers to support a safe, clean environment for members of the public and workers at Cooling Center facilities.
Similar to other guidance for businesses that have recently been approved to reopen with modifications, CDPH recommends the following actions be taken by Cooling Centers:
- Individual Temperature Checks and Symptom Screenings
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols
- Physical Distancing Guidelines
- Addressing Any Language or Cultural Barriers