How COVID-19 is Transmitted
According to the CDC, COVID-19 seems to spread easily, and is chiefly spread through person-to-person contact. This means between people who are in close contact with each other, or within about six feet. It can also be transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and the respiratory droplets come in contact with another person's mouth or nose.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Like many other diseases, symptoms can vary in severity. However, most prevalent COVID-19 symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, which may appear anywhere between two and 14 days after exposure to.
How to Avoid Getting COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine available for COVID-19, so it's important to do your best in avoiding exposure. There are certain everyday habits that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases that you should adopt and encourage your employees to adopt as well:
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Stay home if you get sick, even if it's not with COVID-19
- Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw away the tissue
- Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces you frequently touch, like doorknobs, keyboards, computer mice, desks, phones, etc.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If Soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
Employer Recommendations from the CDC
The CDC has a number of strategies it recommends employers use. It's recommended business owners employ these strategies now in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, and will be an integral way to keep your business and employers healthy in the event that COVID-19 appears in Ohio.
Encourage sick employees to stay home.
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home from work until they are all clear of symptoms, especially symptoms such as a fever. In order for this strategy to be effective, the CDC recommends ensuring that your business has flexible sick leave policies and that you keep your employees informed of that policy. It also recommends lifting requirements on providing a note from a physician, as medical facilities may become increasingly busy and may not be able to provide a note in a timely manner. Finally, the CDC recommends that employers encourage employees to stay home to care for vulnerable and sick family members.
Send home sick employees.
The CDC recommends that employers isolate sick employees from others and send them home upon arrival to work or if they begin showing symptoms of a respiratory illness during the work day.
Encourage employees to adopt healthy habits.
Like using tissues to cough and sneeze, regularly disinfecting surfaces, and washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, the CDC recommends hanging posters and pushing messaging about adopting healthy habits that will prevent the spread of COVID-19. To support these habits, ensure you provide adequate supplies of soap and tissues in the workplace. Also, the CDC recommends placing hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95 percent alcohol in entrances to the office and other visible areas in the workplace.
Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan
The CDC has a comprehensive list of recommendations to create an infectious disease outbreak response plan. To view the full list, please click here. These recommendations include, but are not limited to:
- Establishing temporary practices that create space between employees, such as work-from-home policies, flexible hours, etc. and providing the technology that enables employees to take advantage of those practices
- Determine which roles are critical to your business functions, and plan for how your business will operate in the case of an interruption such as many absences due to illness or school closings
- Consider canceling non-essential business travel if possible
- Create a way to successfully communicate with employees in the case of disrupted business hours