It is apparent that COVID-19 illness will affect the nation throughout the month of May. National Stop the Bleed Month will still be a time to focus on bystander bleeding control education. However, we recommend that all in-person classes be canceled until further notice. We are exploring ways to deliver Bleeding Control education through distributive and asynchronous methods.
While we strongly discourage in-person training at this time, those communities, instructors, and students willing to allow in-person Bleeding Control courses should carefully follow the following guidelines:
- Limit class sizes to ten people or fewer. All attendees should sign a roster including their contact information in case of exposure.
- Seating and skills stations should be positioned at least six feet apart. Be aware that the aggressive shaking of contaminated equipment and clothing may disperse the virus through the air.
- Provisions for hand washing before and after the class should be available in addition to prevention supplies (soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, and a couple of disposable facemasks, just in case someone becomes sick during an event).
- All surfaces and training materials should be decontaminated between sessions in a manner that will ensure no virus can be transmitted. Wear gloves when handling equipment with presumed contamination. Dilute bleach solution of 4 tablespoons (60 mL) bleach to one quart (1 L), 70% alcohol solutions, or other EPA-registered household disinfectants approved for viral pathogens may be used to clean surfaces. Tourniquets with velcro should be cleaned while submerged in the warmest solution reasonable and allowed to air dry.
- Advise participants to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbow, to wash their hands frequently, and to leave the class as soon as possible if they are not feeling well.
- Older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions should avoid gatherings as much as possible.
National Stop the Bleed Month is about bringing awareness to a cause of preventable death: bleeding. We would be remiss if we didn’t take into account another cause of death which may have been preventable: infection. We recommend all citizens limit exposure, adhere to social distancing, and self-isolate if exposure is suspected. Instructors should make every effort to limit the potential risk of Bleeding Control education. This includes exploring alternative methods of teaching.
Further information and resources can be found at the CDC’s official website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
EPA Approved Disinfectants: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2