COVID 19: Taking Precautions for Prevention
Updated: May 5, 2020
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there are similarities in the symptoms of the flu and the coronavirus since they are both infectious respiratory illnesses. Coronavirus precautions are generally the same for the flu or any workplace illness.
The best approach in this situation is to stay informed and keep calm. Also, you should talk to your employer about available contingency plans.
At the time, there is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
Washing Your Hands
CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. CDC also recommends covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
If there is no access to soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Another way to help prevent the spread of several viruses is to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Use a regular household cleaning spray or disinfecting wipe on surfaces like doorknobs, refrigerator handles, coffee makers, and meeting tables, etc.
CDC recommends avoiding close contact with people who are or may be sick. Also, it is best practice to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Staying Home or Working From Home if Necessary
The CDC also recommends you stay home when you are sick. If work allows, ask your employer to use your PTO when you feel that you are sick and contagious with a cold, flu, etc. If Work from Home options are available, employees should discuss this with their manager. Employers should ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies. Employers may also need to create an emergency plan for working remotely that can apply to situations beyond the virus-like natural disasters and dangerous weather conditions.
Also, try to avoid public areas and public transportation if you feel that you are contagious. CDC strongly suggests limiting contact with people and animals and restricting activities outside your home expect for seeking medical care.
Recognizing the symptoms
CDC reports the following symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the illness:
· Shortness of Breath
If you believe that you or your loved one has contracted the COVID 19 based on worsening symptoms and/or you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or recently traveled from an area with a widespread of the illness, contact your health care provider immediately. According to the CDC, people who are ill with COVID-19 but are not sick enough to be hospitalized are able to self-isolate at home during their illness.
CDC suggests to call ahead to make an appointment and to let your medical provider know that you may or may not have COVID-19 depending on your symptoms, this will help the healthcare provider to take action to prevent others from getting exposed/infected. CDC recommends wearing a face mask when you are sick to avoid exposing and/or infecting others before entering the medical facility when seeking treatment.
Returning to Work
CDC recommends that employers do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
Filing for Unemployment
With unemployment rates expected to range from 16% to 20% according to White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, filing for unemployment benefits is something that you can no longer wait to do. To learn how to file for unemployment in your state, visit the link below:
The best course of action is to be calm, well prepared, informed, and diligent in your efforts to protect yourself against this illness.
For more guidance for employers, click on the following link:
For COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
For additional questions or concerns and to be up to date with the information released from the CDC, click on the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html