Employee COVID 19 Memo
What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
COVID-19, previously called novel coronavirus disease or 2019 nCoV, is the viral disease that has caused global concern. Starting out as an outbreak, it has negatively impacted world trade and economies, limited global travel and tourism, forced the lockdown of cities, and is now the latest pandemic after the 2009 H1N1 that originated in North America.
How Did COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Come About?
Officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 11, 2020, the respiratory disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was first detected in Central China’s city of Wuhan on December 8, 2019. COVID-19 has then spread to almost all countries with over 16 million confirmed cases worldwide.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) vs Influenza (flu): What is the Difference?
The flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory diseases with similar symptoms, but they are caused by two different viruses. Here are some similarities and differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
- Symptoms are the same: cough, body aches, fatigue, high body temperature, shortness of breath, and, in some cases, diarrhea.
- Just like the flu, COVID-19’s virus can survive in both hot and humid weather as well as in cold and dry climates.
- Both can be transmitted by direct contact, droplets, and materials that can carry infection such as clothes, utensils, and furniture.
- Severe cases can lead to pneumonia and even death.
- The flu can be prevented by taking a flu vaccine that is readily available every year.
- COVID-19 does not have a vaccine but clinical trials are ongoing. It may take a while for a COVID-19 vaccine to be considered safe for medical use.
- Efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 include frequent hand washing, physical distancing, wearing face masks, quarantine, and travel restrictions (local and international).
How Can Individuals and Households Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
In the absence of a medically approved vaccine for COVID-19, people are advised to follow precautionary measures to avoid getting infected and mitigate the further spread of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides some recommendations for individuals and families.
- Be alert for any update from public health officials regarding COVID-19 in your community.
- Consider household members who are at greater risk such as older adults and those with severe chronic illnesses and take actions to reduce the risk of getting infected.
- Update your emergency contact list that includes household members, community resources, and healthcare providers.
- Follow preventive measures such as frequent proper washing of hands, disinfection of frequently touched objects, and avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Prepare a room that can be used for isolation in case a household member gets sick.
Act (in case of an outbreak)
- The CDC recommends seeking immediate medical attention if you develop these emergency warning signs for COVID-19. However, this list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
- Practice social distancing or maintaining distance from people as much as possible (6 feet).
- Stay away from others who are currently ill.
- For older adults and those with severe chronic illnesses:
- Stay at home and away from crowds as much as possible;
- have several weeks’ worth of medication and supplies if staying at home; and
- observe good hand hygiene.
- Cooperate with contact tracing efforts to better contain any outbreak in communities.
How Can Businesses Protect Employees From COVID-19?
The spread of COVID-19 has impacted businesses and industries worldwide, and it is best for employers to determine ways to prevent COVID-19 from becoming an occupational hazard. Businesses and organizations can practice the following to mitigate risks in the workplace:
- Observe proper information dissemination in the workplace and cascade guidelines that employees can follow regarding COVID-19.
- Read and understand the CDC’s recommendation for employers:
- Employees should be informed and encouraged to stay at home when they’re not feeling well.
- Employees who are sick or become sick while in the workplace should be separated from other employees and sent home.
- Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Employers should encourage employees to take a free online course on COVID-19 etiquette.
- Environmental cleaning should be routine. Frequently touched surfaces should always be cleaned.
- Employees who travel are encouraged to check out travel advisories from the CDC website and follow the recommendation for each country.
- Employers should have a risk assessment conducted in the workplace to determine the level of risk of infection and come up with corresponding mitigation.
- Implement visitor or customer screening at every entrance to your business establishment.
- There are new regulations that require businesses to implement strict compliance with wearing face coverings within establishments. Non-compliance can lead to the shutdown of operations.
- In places where regulations do not require face coverings, business owners can enforce the wearing of face coverings within the premises for the safety of employees and other customers.
Tool for COVID-19 Preparedness
COVID-19 is the latest pandemic to impact the world with confirmed cases increasing exponentially everyday. In the absence of a vaccine, the best defence against COVID-19 is to ensure that recommended protocols are followed to prevent getting infected and control its spread. iAuditor by SafetyCulture is a powerful inspection tool that can help make sure that steps are taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. With iAuditor, you can:
- Follow recommended steps to prevent the further spread of COVID-19
- Proactively catch areas of concern and act quickly to correct vulnerabilities
- Immediately submit reports to provide updates to intended recipients
- Edit COVID-19 checklists to fit the unique needs of your organization
We have prepared free COVID-19 checklists below that you can use to help you, your community, and your organization prepare for COVID-19.
As we are all working together to contain the spread of COVID-19, we also have COVID-19 checklists in multiple languages: German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
SafetyCulture provides the checklists, templates and summaries below on a non-site specific and generic basis, and only for informational purposes. By using or downloading any of the checklists or templates, you are doing so at your own risk. You acknowledge that each checklist or template is not a substitute for professional advice.