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Practical biosecurity recommendations to prevent COVID-19 in farm workers and allied operations

The University of Minnesota Swine Disease Eradication Center recently released practical biosecurity recommendations in the prevention of COVID-19 spread in farm workers and allied operations.  These recommendations are given below in their entirety with permission from the Swine Disease Eradication Center.

A PDF version of the entire document can be found on UMN's College of Veterinary Medicine's website.  The document is also available in Spanish as well on the same website.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, caused by the virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a “person-to-person” disease. Efforts must be directed at protecting the health of personnel, and their families, involved in the care of animals, and supporting the operation of the farms, and the overall food production supply chain (e.g., feed distribution, feed mills, slaughter plants, truck drivers, etc). Ensuring the continued operation of swine far…
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Podcast: Protecting the food system from COVID-19

In the latest episode of "At The Meeting...Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison", Dr. Montse Torremorell, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Gordon Spronk, Pipestone Veterinary Services, and Dr. Tom Wetzel, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica are joined by Dr. Jeff Bender, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota and have a conversation about:
Basics of Coronavirus and COVID-19 scienceSteps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the farmWhat it means to keep the virus from hurting people and affecting the food system.Listen to the podcast - Protecting The Food System: COVID-19 Prevention Steps for Farm Staff.

Who is considered an essential worker?

After Governor Tim Walz announced a Stay At Home Executive Order on March 26, 2020 directing Minnesotans to limit movements outside of their homes beyond needs, some of you may be wondering how this applies to you. To know who is considered an essential worker and is exempt from the stay at home order is based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the U.S Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota-specific additions. Food and agriculture is addressed on page 6 of this document.

You can also visit the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's website to learn more regarding who is considered a critical worker.

Employee safety & continuity of business on farms

It is recommended for farms to create a COVID-19 plan that considers the following:
Farm Level Crisis plan - resource available on National Pork Board's websiteHave a critical industry employee authorization to travel letter for farm workersConsider OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" document when creating your Farm Level Crisis planRevisit farm's sick leave policy Consider cross-training employees Spread out the workforce on the farm by staggering shifts and breaks o comply with social distancing recommendations Clean and disinfect break areas after use Consider external factors such as school closings
Check out other COVID-19 resources on National Pork Board's website.

COVID-19 resources for your family

We all are currently inundated with information about COVID-19, also called coronavirus. This information we are exposed to is a mix of misinformation and trusted information. No matter where you are looking for information it is important that it is fact-based. Our colleagues in Extension family development have been helping individuals and families prepare for, and cope with, crises for decades. Visit their "Helping your family plan for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)" webpage. This webpage includes resources such as:
Steps to keep you and others healthyShare facts, not fearGuidance to make back-up plans for childcare, work, elderly family members and income lossLink to Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention resourcesLink to Minnesota Department of Health resources