Novel Coronavirus – What Businesses Need to Know
There is a lot of information out right now about the Novel Coronavirus that began in China, however not all of what is being said in the media is true. Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health have compiled some information regarding this virus and what you can do to keep yourself, and your employees healthy.
Symptoms usually appear around 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and include:
· Shortness of Breath
Symptoms are similar to what is expected with the flu and can range from mild to severe. The majority of the people who are infected will recover on their own and there is no specific treatment other than managing symptoms. For anybody with severe symptoms, health care will provide supportive care.
How it Spreads
The main way this virus is transmitted is with person-to-person contact. According to the CDC, for person to person contact, you can become infected if you have close contact with an infected person (six feet) or through the droplets produced from the cough or sneeze of an infected person. While person-to-person contact is still believed to be the main way for the virus to spread, the CDC also cautions that it may be possible to get infected through touching a surface that the virus is on, and then touching their face.
· Wash your hands frequently – and every time after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
· Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if no soap/water is available
· Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hand
· Avoid close contact with anybody sick
· Stay home when you are sick
· Disinfect surfaces and objects you use frequently.
If you are Sick
Most of the people who are sick with Novel Coronavirus will only have mild symptoms. The CDC recommends that if you have any symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus that you stay home until symptoms subside. If you live with other people, adhere to all of the above precautions under the Prevention heading. If symptoms get worse, call your doctor to let them know that you may have been exposed and ask if they want you to go in or if you should go to urgent care or a local hospital. If you need need to leave the house to seek medical care, a face mask will help limit your risk of infecting others.
Business Strategies for Employers
Set policies that any employee with a fever along with other symptoms stay home until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Setting flexible sick day policies and enabling sick employees to work from home will help stop the spread of the virus among other employees.
Provide plenty of tissues and trash cans that are no-touch for employees to use.
Instruct employees to be diligent with hand-washing.
Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer for employee use in common areas, bathroom and for personal use at desks.
Provide disinfectant wipes for desks and other surfaces, such as keyboards, phones, counters, etc.
For more information, please use the following links:
California Department of Public Health
CDC – Business Guidelines