Every day, more cities instruct citizens to stay at home and practice social distancing. Grocery stores are selling out of pantry items and hand sanitizer. Non-essential businesses are ordered to close or work from home. Countries are going into lockdown and closing their borders.
The coronavirus is affecting almost every aspect of day-to-day life, and at EHS Insight, we take that threat seriously. Here’s what you need to know about health and safety in the global coronavirus pandemic.
Our Commitment to Safety
We are committed to the health and safety of our employees and end-users in these difficult times. That’s why we are following all recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control on the evolving COVID-19 situation.
Because COVID-19 is a novel (new) strain of the coronavirus which spreads so easily and because there is little to no preexisting immunity to COVID-19, the virus spread to pandemic status within a just a few months.
Unfortunately, the complete clinical picture of COVID-19 is not fully understood, from disease transmission to illness severity to risk factors. Most of what we know about COVID-19 is drawn from our knowledge of previous coronavirus strains, but it remains unclear how this virus differs from old strains like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.
For this reason, we encourage our employees and users to follow all current guidance provided by the CDC to deal with the pandemic.
Maintaining a Safe Workplace During Coronavirus
At present, the CDC actively encourages all sick employees to stay home. Employees with signs of acute respiratory illness are asked to stay at home and not come to work until they are free of a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours.
Because so much about COVID-19 remains unknown, and because there is not yet a vaccine, the best way to protect yourself from the virus is to prevent exposure. The CDC recommends that everyone practice social distancing, or deliberately increase the space between people to prevent the spread of disease.
Social distancing practices include:
- Working from home instead of the office
- Closing schools or conducting class online
- Visiting loved ones digitally
- Canceling or postponing events which are likely to attract large crowds
At present, the CDC asks that businesses and communities cancel or postpone any events larger than 10 people. This includes self-quarantine for yourself and your loved ones.
While the virus appears to be largely mild, severe and lethal cases have occurred in high-risk populations, including:
- People above 50
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Other chronic health conditions
- Individuals with compromised lungs
- Immune-compromised patients
However, even if you are not a high-risk population, it is recommended that you stay at home to reduce the risk of infection for higher-risk loved ones, neighbors, and colleagues.
For many employees, staying home for so long may raise concerns about running out of sick leave. For this reason, the CDC asks that employers offer flexible sick leave policies and flexible work-from-home arrangements to accommodate employees.
Managing Health During Pandemic
EHS Insight will continue to offer guidance to employees and users as the situation progresses. In the meantime, we ask that you continue to educate yourself on coronavirus using CDC and World Health Organization resources, take precautions to adapt as the situation evolves, and take whatever steps are necessary to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.