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Wet Lab, Clinical Research, and Core Facilities Ramp-up

Published on
Jul 1, 2020
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UPDATED JULY 1, 2020

We sincerely appreciate and are proud of the Research Institute community’s commitment to safeguard our staff, patients, and families, as we cautiously return to research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue to work closely with the Hospital to phase in ramp-up operations with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as state and local orders and regulations. Philadelphia has seen a steady decline from a peak of 500 COVID-19 cases per day in April to 100 cases per day in mid-June, allowing the city to move into a modified green phase June 26.

Data show low rates of infection of CHOP employees since implementing universal masking, adhering to physical distancing, and practicing hand hygiene. Your attention to these safety measures is helping to minimize risk of COVID-19 infection. We encourage you to remind co-workers that one another’s safety is our top priority, especially when creating a safe space for eating and taking breaks.

Continued vigilance and flexibility is essential to keeping the Research Institute on a positive path forward. We successfully ramped up research operations to 25% staffing beginning May 26. Our Core Facilities and DVR are fully operational with enhanced safety precautions in place. The Research Ramp-up Task Force recommends these next steps:

  • Ramp-up to 50% staff for each research group as of July 6, commensurate with the Governor’s and CHOP leadership’s recommendations
    • For labs over six people (including PI if they work at the bench; excluding if they are in the office): 50% ramp-up and strict physical distancing and universal masking required. People in lab must maintain a distance of no less than 6 feet, person to person when working at the bench, treatment/procedure room, within a bay, or in desk/touchdown space
    • For all labs under six people: 100% allowed if strict physical distancing, as described above, can be maintained. If the PI assigned space is too small to provide adequate space for all lab members, then flexible shifting of staff is recommended
  • Continued safety walk-throughs of wet research space for compliance
  • Close monitoring of PPE supplies
  • Additional safety practices signage and clear guidelines outside common areas and in conference rooms for maximum density and seating allowances
  • Encourage personnel to complete tasks at home whenever possible.

Principal Investigators will remain flexible when working with their staff members individually to communicate best practices for returning to the lab, taking into consideration existing challenges and commuting needs. Keep in mind when planning which experiments the lab will ramp-up that the Research Institute could revert to a state of fewer people in lab if the COVID-19 situation changes.

It’s exciting to return to research at a greater capacity, but things may look a little different. Be patient with your co-workers as they adapt to new routines during this gradual transition to in-lab work. If your research program is located at Roberts, please send a staff representative from your respective areas to stop by the 2nd floor of the Roberts Building to pick up mail that has been held for your group. Mail can be picked up Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.

Always follow infection control recommendations. Monitor symptoms and report concerns to your personal physician and the CHOP COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-7112.

Ramp-up Resources

Robust ramp-up resources are available to the Research Institute community:

COVID-19 Research Institute Updates

Check the COVID-19 Information and Resources page often for ongoing research communications and virtual opportunities. Visit the internal Bioresponse @CHOP Community for the latest bioresponse enterprise updates.