This first step to protecting yourself is to be informed of the background and nature of the widespread virus.
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that typically cause disease in animal species, although the latest outbreak has made its way to the human population. The newest virus, COVID-19, has become widespread and dangerous, with over 90,000 global cases. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
- China: 80,000 + cases
- South Korea: 4,000+ cases
- Italy: 2,000+ cases
- Iran: 1,500 cases
- US: Over 100 cases with large increase expected
How is the Virus Spread?
Like many other viruses and bugs, COVID-19 is spread through droplets after someone coughs or sneezes. These “droplets” can then land on surfaces and transferred to the hands of others. People who have come in contact with the virus then touch their mouth, eyes, and face, spreading it further.
What are the Symptoms?
According to CDC, reported illnesses have ranged from “mild symptoms to severe illness and death” for confirmed cases. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
** There is currently no cure for COVID-19**
Coronavirus and the Workplace: What Precautions Should I Take?
As stated, there is currently no cure or vaccination to prevent from getting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from obtaining the illness is to do the following:
- Avoid close contact to people that are sick
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, face
- Clean/Disinfect frequently touched objects (printer, keyboards, doorknobs)
- Wash your hands often for 20 seconds – especially after using a public bathroom
- If not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitize
(For info about hand-washing, visit the CDC’s Hand-washing page)
Will I Know if a Colleague Has Become Infected?
The CDC states that if a case is confirmed about a co-worker, your employer should notify their staff that you may have been exposed to the virus. Although, federal law requires to maintain the confidentiality of the ill person.