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Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: managing the epidemic in the event of heat waves

In the event that the Covid-19 epidemic is prolonged and coincides with heat waves, is it possible to apply both the Heat Wave Plan health recommendations and those relating to the Covid-19 epidemic?

The HCSP (Haut Conseil de la santé publique, French High Council for Public Health) emphasises the risks and the various aspects to be implemented within each of the two independent sets of circumstances. It provides details of the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, organisational, human resource and material dimensions that need to be taken into account in order to fully anticipate the responses that would be required in the dual context of the Covid-19 epidemic and heat waves. In particular, it describes the operating conditions and conditions of use for air conditioners, fans and facial misters.

In its preamble, the HCSP emphasises the seriousness of the health threat posed by heat waves and wishes to avoid underestimations of the severity of these events due to the pre-eminence of fears associated with Covid-19.

It recommends ensuring effective coordination between the two sets of prevention measures. It stresses that the Covid-19 epidemic must not jeopardise the monitoring of individuals who are vulnerable to heat nor lead to delays in the treatment of symptomatic patients. It recommends using various cooling methods (collective and individual) consistent with the barrier measures so as to avoid transmission of the virus. It calls for the provision of extra staff, both professionals and volunteers, in order to cater for these individuals and anticipate their needs as regards protective equipment and transport.

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