Now, more than ever, it’s important to implement a disaster plan for your lab or update your lab’s current plan. Emergencies can impede your lab’s efficiency and sometimes even bring operations to a standstill. Preparation can help ensure that your lab continues to deliver high quality results and keep patients and laboratory workers healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The consequences of the pandemic on laboratories are likely to go beyond those of more familiar emergencies, like floods or hurricanes. In addition to a possibly overwhelming surge in patients with COVID-19 illness, you might experience planned reductions in other patient populations, a changed patient mix to mostly or nearly all COVID-19 patients, supply shortages, and staff shortages as team members need to self-quarantine or stay home to care for family members.1
CLSI’s GP36, Planning for Laboratory Operations During a Disaster, is an essential document for laboratory emergency preparedness planning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapter 10, which deals with planning for pandemic influenza, easily can be adapted to our current situation.1 Some topics included in Chapter 10 are preparing an organization and personnel, staffing and human resources issues, employee health, laboratory test menu, supplies, services, business continuity, as well as safety and security.
Other chapters include information on developing an emergency operations plan, legal and ethical considerations, understanding laboratory risks, understanding other functions related to lab operations, and working with the community and public health officials.
GP36 provides practical guidance for laboratory and health care leadership for development, implementation, and sustainment of effective emergency preparedness plans supporting nonanalytical components of clinical and public health laboratory services. Easy-to-implement examples of checklists, forms, and questionnaires the lab can use for effective disaster preparation are also included.
For a limited time, CLSI has made this document available for free so that laboratories can have access to this timely guideline. Download it as a PDF for free on our website (no credit card required) or use our online portal to access it today.
Hoyne, J. Lab Preparedness During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Clinical Laboratory News. May 1, 2020. https://www.aacc.org/publications/cln/articles/2020/may/lab-preparedness-during-the-covid-19-pandemic. Accessed 5/13/20.