What is COVID-19?
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
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.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19. Wear your mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Fit the mask snugly against the sides of your face, slipping the loops over your ears or tying the strings behind your head.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you.
- Avoid crowds. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.
- Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
- Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Monitor health daily.
- Get Vaccinated to Protect Against COVID-19
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch often. Use cleaning products as directed.
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.
COVID-19 Weekly Updates: Saving Lives, Protecting Workers
In this weekly series, we will hear from and talk with public health experts, government officials, medical personnel, front-line workers and worker representatives about the latest developments in the fight against COVID-19. The series is sponsored by WEC, Rutgers Learn and Jersey Renews and airs on Tuesday @ 12pm. Want to receive weekly series emails, sign up here.
Past Webinar Summaries
November 16: Emotional Health and Resources for Children and Families During COVID-19
For our last episode in this eight-part miniseries we invited Dave Ellis, Executive Director, Office of Resilience, NJ Department of Children and Families; Amanda Adams, co-chair of the NJEA ACEs Taskforce; and Liz Warner, President, SEL4NJ to discuss how the pandemic has led to an increase of adverse conditions for children and families. Programs addressing social and emotional learning (SEL) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) help ensure that children and families live in good conditions with the supportive services they need.
Liz talked about the social-emotional skills of students and staff to create the foundation for a positive school climate. U.S. public-school teachers surveyed in January and […]
November 9: Resources for Safety and Support for Domestic Violence Victims During a Pandemic
This week we were joined by Womanspace Inc.’s Joshua Duncan and Bri-Anne Gladd.
Woven within the core of Womanspace Inc.’s 40 year history is the mission to empower and provide safety to all who face abuse and violence at home and at work. Joshua Duncan, Womanspace Domestic Violence Victim Response Team Coordinator, shared that 20,000 calls are placed a day to domestic violence hotlines. There are resources available to victims including paid leave benefits. He also emphasised how we must educate ourselves about domestic abuse and the recovery process in order to be able to help others.
Joshua, along with Bri-Anne Gladd, […]
October 26: Vaccines, Boosters & NJ Vaccine Distribution Program
This week we were joined by Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, Co-Executive Director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health and Dr. David Adinaro, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services, New Jersey Department of Health.
Marcy started the episode off with breaking news – Doug Parker was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Parker brings his experience as head of Cal/OSHA, the nation’s largest statewide safety agency. He also served as executive director at Worksafe, a non-profit that provides legal services and public advocacy for workers seeking to improve safety on the job. Worksafe and WEC […]
October 19: OSHA’s ETS and State Government Infectious Disease Prevention Policies
We were joined this week by Debbie Berkowitz, former Program Director of Worker Health and Safety of the National Employment Law Project and Marina Jabsky, Industrial Hygienist for NYCOSH.
October 12: Building Equity and Resilience in Vulnerable Communities – Community Engagement Across New Jersey
Dr. Rick Marlink, Director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute, shared details of their initiatives in Newark, New Brunswick, and Trenton on advancing health equity and an equitable recovery for women and minority owned small and micro businesses throughout the pandemic. The program’s manager, Arpita Jindani described the efforts necessary to stop the domino effect that takes place when small locally owned businesses close. Their program assists with COVID-19 training, testing, and pop-up vaccination sites in addition to creating local Resilience Networks that provide small businesses connections with local support groups for financial and material support.
Former Asbury Park Mayor, Myra Campbell, continued the conversation on the importance of meeting the community members […]
The COVID-19 webinar series is sponsored by
Benefits for Workers
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development Resources
- What NJ Workers Need to Know about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Factsheet
- NJ Division of Unemployment: https://myunemployment.nj.gov/
- Guidance for Self-Employed Individuals Filing a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Claim and FAQs
- NJ Family leave Insurance: https://myleavebenefits.nj.gov/labor/myleavebenefits/worker/fli/index.shtml
- NJ Earned Paid Sick Leave: https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/law.shtml
- NJ Temporary Disability Insurance: https://myleavebenefits.nj.gov/labor/myleavebenefits/worker/tdi/index.shtml
Federal Paid Sick Leave and CARES act expansions and stimulus
- US Department of Labor: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights