Coronavirus and hurricane season: Here’s why the Red Cross says now is the time to prepareMaury
“Our physical presence may look different, but our missions remain the same,” American Red Cross spokesperson Ben Williamson told Fox News on Monday.
Part of the physical differences regarding any big storms threatening the U.S. and triggering evacuations in the months ahead will be how storm shelters handle evacuees.
According to Williamson, the Red Cross is working to prioritize hotels, motels and dormitories for evacuees in order to maintain social distancing and isolate individuals as much as possible.
Capacity changes to accomodate social distancing may limit the number of people allowed. Those arriving will have their temperatures taken and be screened using questions approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Anyone who does not have a mask will receive one when arriving at a shelter, and enhanced cleaning, sanitizing stations and staggered meal times are planned, according to Williamson.
Isolation areas also will be set up in each shelter so anyone with COVID-19 symptoms won’t be turned away. Officials also will take into account the elderly and those most vulnerable to the virus; they could possibly be placed in hotels or motels.
Throughout the country, each regional office of the organization is working with state and local partners to finalize plans.
“Everyone is going to have to adapt, change their preparations a bit,” Williamson said.
The need to have a disaster plan in place seems to have greater importance because of the expected above-average hurricane season.