Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Food Protection Program issued guidance regarding COVID-19 preventive measures at food processing facilities in Massachusetts and also suspended in-person inspections at these facilities to protect the health of food facility inspectors and employees. FFP needed to assess facility compliance with these new requirements and monitor their operational status in order to evaluate the potential for disruptions to food supply and delivery in the state.
ERG designed a cloud-based COVID-19 Pandemic Facility Assessment Survey Tool to achieve both goals. The survey included questions to elicit data on COVID-19 cases at food processing facilities, COVID-19 preventive measures instituted by facilities, and current and potential disruptions to food supply and delivery in the state. ERG emailed the survey tool to facilities, collected responses, and generated a survey report, which we updated monthly so that state and local officials could stay abreast of facility compliance and operational status. During the second year of the pandemic, ERG revised and updated the assessment tool in response to the latest pandemic-related issues and provided technical support and reporting capabilities during FFP’s ongoing and expanded outreach.