The most recent coronavirus, COVID-19, is a new strain of virus that hasn’t been identified before in humans. The COVID-19 virus is a respiratory pathogen that is highly contagious, and it is far more lethal than the flu virus.
Some symptoms of coronavirus include – fever, cough, body aches and tiredness and they can worsen and cause pneumonia, fluid in the lungs that leads to shortness of breath. The COVID-19 illness is more severe than the flu, and the chance of dying from it is greater than the seasonal flu, estimates up to 30x greater risk of death. COVID-19 has been able to spread from person to person very easily and requires an immediate response to protect workers and the general public.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks because these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Steps to Take to Protect Yourself
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Below are some steps you can take to protect yourself at work or in your daily life. This is not a comprehensive list. It is important to note, as more is learned about COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update their guidance on how to protect yourself. For the most recent updates, visit the CDC website.
- Stay at home — except to get essentials like food and medicine.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Social Distance – if you have to go out, keep your distance — stay at least six feet away from others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you are around others AND still social distance.
- Make a plan, so you only visit the grocery store or pharmacy once a week during off-peak hours for the shortest amount of time possible.
- Do not gather in person. Stay in touch with friends and family over the phone or online.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you’re sick, stay at home! (Unless it’s to get medical care)
- Only go to the hospital for urgent symptoms.
- Self-isolate if you have mild symptoms.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch often.
Employers should follow the MOST protective guidance and standards issued by state or federal agencies. If guidance contradicts each other, the MOST protective should be implemented.