The COVID-19 outbreak, which started in China has now spread to over 60 other countries around the world, the United States included. The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee officially declared the spread of the virus as a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30, 2020. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself. First, lets start by understanding it.

SOURCE AND SPREAD

The Coronaviruses consist of multiple viruses that have been detected in both people and animals. The spread, however, is rarely likely to spread from animal to human. The latest discovery of the virus family is named SARS-CoV-2 which is a betacoronavirus originating in bats. According to the CDC, the spread of such a virus is likely a “single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.”

PREVENTION

Unfortunately, there is still no vaccine available to prevent the virus. The CDC has recommended a list of everyday preventive actions to assist in the prevention of respiratory diseases which include:

  • Be safe and avoid contact with people who are sick. The World Health Organization suggests that you maintain a minimum of three feet distance between anyone who is coughing and/or sneezing and yourself. The CDC recommends maintaining 6 feet of distance.
  • Avoid contact between your hands and your face. Your hands come in contact with many surfaces that are exposed to many viruses and bacteria. However, once you touch your face these viruses have the opportunity to enter your body, avoid this at all costs.
  • If you are sick, stay home, unless you are seeking medical care.
  • If you begin to sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and then dispose of it immediately and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    Be sure to frequently clean all household or workplace items that are frequently touched.
  • The CDC has specific recommendations when it comes to wearing a face mask:
    • They do not recommend healthy/unaffected people make use of a face mask to prevent infection.
    • Facemasks should be worn by those who are displaying symptoms of infection by COVID-19 to prevent the spread of such viruses.
    • Carers and health workers should make use of a face mask due to close contact with infected individuals.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Pay extra attention to this after a visit to the bathroom, before eating or after you have coughed, sneezed or blown your nose. If you do not have soap and water readily available, make use of an alcohol-based sanitizer with a minimum alcohol content of 60%.
  • According to The World Health Organization, it is also important that if you begin to have a fever, cough or experience difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care immediately.
  • They also recommend staying up to date with all developments regarding the COVID-19 virus.

TREATMENT

If you think that you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, it is imperative to contact and get assistance from a healthcare provider immediately. However, there is no treatment currently recommended for the COVID-19 virus. Healthcare providers will recommend the correct medication to assist in relieving the virus symptoms. When severe, treatment will need to include “care to support vital organ functions.”

EMPLOYER RECOMMENDATIONS

So what should you do as an employer? Here are our recommendations:

  • Awareness and education are key! Make sure that your crew is aware of the situation and of the recommended prevention measures to take (print our posters out!).
  • Provide hand sanitizer gel and disinfecting soap at work.
  • Encourage employees to wash their hands often.
  • Provide tissues and encourage their use.
  • Consider having masks available.
  • Require employees to stay home if they show symptoms of illness.
  • Ensure that all surfaces that employees come into contact with often are cleaned and disinfected.
  • Provide disposable wipes to clean surfaces.

Many parts of the country have progressed well past early stages and are now closing businesses such as golf courses. The regulations and recommendations vary widely from state to state and municipality to municipality. Stay informed by local and state authorities.

Preparation is key! Depending on the disease’s impact and spread throughout the United States, you should be prepared to have to operate with decreased manpower resources as employees are more likely to stay home if showing symptoms of illness.

 

Remember that the best way to have a safe and healthy work environment is to provide your crew with the resources to act safely. Print our Corona Virus Prevention posters to keep your crew and workplace healthy!

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