NEHA COVID-19 Environmental Health Workforce Needs Assessment II Report

11 ROLE OF EH WORKFORCE IN INFECTION CONTROL & PREVENTION (continued) Figure 18. Types of EH Inspections Being Conducted by Respondents Furthermore, 77% indicated that they conduct in-person inspections, whereas 20% indicated that they are performing virtual inspections. Respondents also selected desk audits and other options as current alternatives to in-person inspections (Figure 18). LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE FIELD Respondents were asked an open-ended question to share lessons learned in response to COVID-19. The following comments are examples of the many lessons learned over the course of this year. “In times of a crisis, we rely on the relationships we have built. Build those relationships now so you know who to reach out to in times of crisis and so that you are a trusted source to those individuals in a time of crisis.” “Remain flexible, utilize your problem-solving abilities, and effective communication is the most important tool available to EH practitioners.” “Ensure a high-quality business continuity plan regarding pandemic/evacuation of facilities to ensure smooth transition to and from homework situations and production flexibility.” “Without support administration regarding enforcement, establishments continue to push the limits of compliance and when this crisis finally comes under control, we need to be hyper focused on preparing for the next pandemic. We need to be building stakeholder infrastructure to ensure we're ready. We have also learned that we need to recognize local health department weaknesses and struggles and listen to what they need.” “Obtain extensive knowledge and invest in highly secure and effective technology to assist with the adjustment from in-person to virtual. Be flexible. Learn how to adapt. Be empathetic and sensitive to your staff needs. Listen closer to concerns. Provide mental health and counseling resources as needed.” “Ensure that your policies and procedures are documented and accurate at all times so you do not have to figure it out during an emergency. Maintain technological efficiency as a rule so you do not have to rush to find sufficient technology during an emergency.” October 2020, National Environmental Health Association, Denver, CO, www.neha.org . 77 20 11 6 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 In-Person Inspections Virtual Inspections Desk Audits Other Respondents (%)

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