COVID-19 Spotlight Story: OSHP Consults Portsmouth Health Officers

May 26, 2020

New Hampshire hasn’t faced a pandemic like COVID-19 before, at least not since the Spanish Flu.  As the state began taking measures to encourage social distancing, workers deemed essential continued to support the public despite limited guidelines and access to PPE. To help protect our Granite State’s workforce, Portsmouth Health Officers reached out to the Institute on Disability’s Dr. Karla Armenti for assistance.  

While the CDC has released some guidance around worker safety, early on, it was not necessarily sector-specific. As Project Director of the New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP), Dr. Armenti works to identify and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses in the state —making her uniquely qualified to recommend protective measures during unusual circumstances. Over the course of the month, Dr. Armenti shared best practices, evidence, and options for protecting the state’s critical workers, as well as personal protective equipment -more specifically respirators- for city workers, including police, medical first responders, pressurized and open sewer workers, and undertakers.  

“My goal is to serve as an expert for these types of questions around the protection of workers during the state’s return-to-work initiatives,” said Dr. Armenti. 

With this information, Portsmouth Health Officers can make more informed decisions for purchasing PPE and providing guidelines to further protect essential workers. To learn more about preventable work-related injuries and illnesses, and control of occupational hazards as the most effective means of prevention, visit the NH Occupational Health Surveillance Progam’s website.