As news spreads of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the pacific northwest and frankly, much of the United States; I wanted to get a message out to all my readers to reinforce the best practice preventative measures cited by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and answer any questions you might have. For my day job, I work in Human Resources and have been getting a lot of questions about what companies should do to prepare themselves and their workplaces for this outbreak. Many people have been rushing to stores to buy up all the lysol spray, toilet paper, and canned food they can find – and us frugal fellows are sitting around wondering if we should be doing the same. Therefore, I wanted to give you a few practical steps to help protect yourself and your family, as well as help prevent further outbreaks.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands (I know this is really tough to do, so try your best!).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice “social distancing” and stay at least 6 feet away from others to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you touch regularly.
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. Don’t return to work or go out in public until you have fully recovered and are symptom free for at least 1-2 days.
These recommendations are all backed by the CDC, and you should check their website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for more information and to keep up with the latest updates on the coronavirus.
In my opinion, there is really no need to buy up all the lysol, hand sanitizer, and face masks you can find. I would encourage you NOT to do so. Not only is this unnecessary and a waste of money, but healthcare professional need these items. They are increasingly having a hard time obtaining them because of the public overreacting and buying up all these items. I know it’s a scary time, but try to stay calm and follow the guidance of the CDC and healthcare professionals.
Here is a helpful FAQ for any questions you might have:
Q. Should I wear a mask?
A. Initially, the CDC advised that face masks should only be used by people who are showing symptoms to help stop the spread of the virus. However, it was later determined that the virus could be spread by people who were asymptotic (not showing symptoms). Therefore, it is now advised that everyone wear a mask when in public and/or when maintaining 6 feet of distance between yourself and other is difficult.
Q. If I see a co-worker or family member coughing or showing symptom, what should I do?
A. Be supportive and encourage them to stay home and/or go to a doctor if they are feeling sick. The best thing you can do is encourage them to not go to work or school where they could potentially spread the virus to others. Remain calm and encourage them to get tested.
Q. What if I need to be quarantined and/or out of work for an extended period of time?
A. If you have been told you should be quarantined, please listen! Don’t worry about not getting paid for being out of work if you don’t have enough paid time off (PTO). Your health and well-being, as well as those around you, are much more important. If you are out of work for an extended period of time without pay, you may qualify for temporary unemployment benefits depending on the circumstances. You may also qualify for protected Family and Medical Leave (FMLA). Speak to your manager or HR representative for more information.
Q. What if I need to travel for work and/or personal reasons?
A. Many companies are suspending all business-related travel for the foreseeable future. If your company hasn’t, request that they do until things have settled down and more information about the spread of the virus is available. Also, I would encourage you to postpone any personal travel arrangements to limit the risk of contracting and/or spreading the virus. When you’re in a stressful situation like this it’s understandable to want to be around family and friends, but doing so could put you or them at risk.
Q. Should I limit social interactions?
A. Yes! The CDC has recommended measures such as “social distancing” to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This means avoiding large events in public places such as entertainment or sports events, reducing your use of non-essential public transportation, and using the telephone, email, text messaging, and social media to connect with friends, family, and others.
So where do we go from here? We have all this information from the CDC and some helpful FAQs, but what now?
If you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to financially survive this crisis, check out my blog post about it here.
Otherwise, just stick to the CDC’s guidance and stay safe and healthy!
I hope this was helpful and able to ease your mind a little. The most important thing is to practice good hygiene and keep yourself informed by continuing to check the CDC’s website.