Environmental Health Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, occurs primarily via direct contact with or respiratory droplets from an infected person. However, there is evidence to suggest that transmission via other modes – such as contaminated surfaces, aerosols, or contact with fecal material – is possible. As such, environmental health practitioners have a key role to play in promoting general hygiene measures as well as addressing unique information needs as the pandemic affects all aspect of public and private life.

This topic page has been created to promote key COVID-19 resources to environmental health practitioners and related professions. We are actively collecting and curating resources from more than 50 Canadian and international public health agencies, and will be promoting those resources via social media and by providing the essential resources on this topic page. This information is current to the date at the bottom of the page.

You can also find additional COVID-19 resources on our other topic pages:


NCCEH Resources

Evidence Reviews

  • An Introduction to SARS-CoV-2 (O'Keeffe, Freeman, Nicol 2020)
    This short evidence brief provides an introduction to the basic virology and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to inform the measures taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.
  • COVID-19 Risks and precautions for the performing arts (O’Keeffe, 2020)
    This evidence review synthesizes available evidence to date on transmission risks of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, associated with performing arts activities.
  • COVID-19 Risks and Precautions for Choirs (O’Keeffe, 2020)
    This evidence review provides an overview of the key risks associated with singing in groups and the suite of precautions that can be considered to minimize these risks.

Field Inquiries

Guidance Documents


COVID-19-related blogs from our guest contributors include:

Environmental Health Research Scans

The NCCEH has produced several COVID-19 research scans that include numerous articles relevant to the environmental health response to the pandemic.  Going forward, COVID-19 literature will be part of our regularly monthly research scans, which are posted in the NCCEH Blog.

External Resources

Air Pollution and COVID-19 Susceptibility

Built Environment

Cleaning and Sanitation in Community Settings

  • Chlorine Dilution Calculator (BC FOODSAFE Program, 2020)
    This easy-to-use online calculator helps you determine how much liquid bleach to add to water to get your desired concentration (ppm) of chlorine solution. This tool was developed to assist Environmental Health Officers, food establishment operators, care facility operators, swimming pool operators, and the public to prepare the appropriate concentration of chlorine solution using bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Never mix bleach solutions with other cleaning products.
  • Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020)
    This web page provides general guidance on cleaning and disinfection of rooms that may have been occupied by COVID-19-infected individuals in non-healthcare community settings.

COVID-19 Information Scans

  • What We Know So Far About…. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)  (Public Health Ontario, 2020)
    This series of reports provides succinct brief overviews of the evidence around COVID-19. Topics covered include the effectiveness of wearing masks in public, routes of transmission, asymptomatic transmission, and much more.
  • ​​COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Review (National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, 2020)
    This webpage provides a place for researchers to share their upcoming or recently completed COVID-19 work. ​This effort is intended to reduce duplication of efforts amongst Canadian and international public health researchers. The results can be searched as well as refined according to topic area, jurisdiction, setting, and population.
  • State of the Science Reports (CanCOVID, 2020)
    These backgrounder documents are produced by CanCOVID, the network of Canadian COVID-19 researchers, clinical collaborators, and healthcare stakeholders. Topic areas include: Viral Composition and Molecular Fingerprint, COVID Symptoms and Disease, Viral Transmission, and Who is at Risk?

Death Care

First Responders

Ethics and the Pandemic

  • Public Health Ethics and COVID-19: Selected Resources (National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy, 2020)
    This research scan aggregates value resources on ethical guidance for responding to the pandemic and provides a brief synthesis of each response.

Food Services

  • Food businesses (BC Centre for Disease Control, 2020)
    This web page provides food safety and COVID-19-related information for grocery stores, restaurants, and other food premises based on current federal and provincial guidance. The drop down menus answers to queries around handling money, cards, and containers, as well as general sanitation and how to use disinfectants safely. The BCCDC has also created resources for food banks and farmer’s markets.

  • FAQs for the Food Industry (Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University, 2020)
    This webpage addresses frequently asked questions about food safety issues associated with COVID-19. It also provides tools and resources to help food services and food industry operators to reduce risk of transmission and improve the safety of their staff and premises.
  • The Spread of a Norovirus Surrogate via Reusable Grocery Bags in a Grocery Supermarket (NEHA, 2020) 
    This document summarizes the results of a study to estimate the transfer of viruses from seeded reuseable grocery bags used by shoppers to other surfaces in a grocery story using a microbial surrogate. The study found that customers transferred virus from their reusable grocery bag to surfaces throughout the store including customer and check-out clerk hands, packaged products and unpackaged produce, check-out surfaces, grocery carts, incentive cards and handles.

Health Equity

  • Equity-informed responses to COVID-19 (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, 2020)
    This webpage provides numerous resources to help practitioners apply an equity lens to the pandemic response, which is critically important given the exacerbating effect of the pandemic on many of the stressors already impacting vulnerable populations.
  • Health Equity: Promoting Fair Access to Health (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020)
    This webpage explains the relationship between COVID-19 and the longstanding health inequities that are disproportionately impacting racialized groups. The webpage also provides a useful, high-level guide to developing a health equity strategy.

Indigenous Communities

  • Sharing the Harvest during the Pandemic (First Nations Health Authority, 2020)
    This guidance document provides some additional measures and information resources to minimize the risk of disease transmission between community members who wish to share traditional foods within their community.
  • Infectious Questions: Pandemic preparedness in First Nations communities (National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, 2020)
    This podcast series looks at various public health aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including action in northern and remote communities, First Nations communities, and long-term care facilities. There are also episodes on engagement with public health nurses and general infection control and prevention.
  • Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) (First Nations Health Authority, 2020)
    This webpage contains numerous provincial and federal resources aimed at supporting Indigenous communities and individuals during the pandemic.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities (Indigenous Services Canada, 2020)
    This web page provides general advice on COVID-19 symptoms and precautions, and also explains how to ensure safe handwashing even when drinking water advisories are in place. Information on ISC’s emergency response plans, to the pandemic as well as any new compounding emergency), is provided.

Mental health

Personal Protective Equipment

Persons Experiencing Homelessness

Public Transit, Taxis, and Ride Sharing

  • COVID-19 Information for Travellers (Transport Canada, 2020)
    This webpage provides frequently updated advice for those travelling by air, water, road, rail or public transit.
  • COVID-19: Guidance for the public transit industry (Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), 2020)
    This web page provides concise but comprehensive coverage of considerations for maintaining continuity of essential public transit services and is relevant for service providers, their employees as well as service users. Topics covered include communications, personal protection measures for drivers and passengers as well as contingency plans such as separation of services. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has a webinar series that compliments many of these topic areas.
  • COVID-19 Guidance for Taxi/Ride Share Employers, Drivers, Vehicle Owners (Toronto Public Health, 2020)
    This fact sheet provides tips on hygiene, respiratory etiquette, maintaining physical distancing within vehicles, and cleaning.
  • There Is Little Evidence That Mass Transit Poses a Risk of Coronavirus Outbreaks (Joselow, 2020)
    This media article highlights some of the challenges to our understanding of the role of public transit in disease transmission, and some of the negative public health impacts of decreased transit use.
  • Transportation and Infrastructure (Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School, 2020)
    This article curates a list of long list of how cities, states and transit agencies are adapting their practices and policies to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools and Daycares

Water and Wastewater

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Omission of a resource does not preclude it from having value.

Last updated Sep 24, 2020