The significant surge in health care needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and has required not only the implementation of alternate care sites (ACSs) while at the same time social distancing to slow down the spread of the disease has resulted in the fact that many other buildings are being underutilized.

Some of the ACSs being considered are hospitals that have been shuttered and are not currently being used or are facilities that were not originally designed to treat individuals with compromised immune systems. These situations pose significant issues in regards to the water systems that must be addressed.

Additionally, those facilities that are currently being underutilized are potentially vulnerable to an increase in pathogen development within the water systems. Making sure that a water management program is in place for existing facilities and is properly implemented prior to “re-opening” the facility will help address these issues.

Making sure that a program is developed and implemented prior to occupying a previously shuttered building is vital to properly protecting the patients that will be served in this facility. For help in the development of a water management program ASHE members can download a free copy of the ASHE Monograph Water Management in Health Care Facilities.

For guidance on water management programs for non-health care facilities see the CDC Prevention with Water Management Programs webpage.