In case you’ve been out of touch the last several weeks there is a new virus spreading across the globe that bears paying attention to.
In a few short weeks, the virus has spread (as of this writing) to 27 countries and is moving fast.
So what is the Coronavirus?
The Coronaviris is a virus that causes disease in animals and birds that can be spread to humans.
The virus causes respiratory infections and has symptoms similar to the common cold.
The infection can quickly become severe, develop into pneumonia, and can be fatal.
While there are efforts being made at this time, there are currently no vaccines to prevent this virus.
The other challenge with this virus is that someone can have the virus and not show symptoms for two weeks.
US officials have declared the Coronaviris a public health emergency and ordered all US citizens returning from Wuhan, China (the epicenter of the virus) to be quarantined for two weeks.
The US State Department has also issued a do not travel warning to China because of this virus.
The good news is that while the virus has shown up in the United States the numbers are still low. There are 11 confirmed cases (as of this writing) in the US.
While health officials are saying that the risk in the US is low at this time, there are plenty of other contagious health issues that should be avoided.
The common cold and the flu have hit hard. According to the CDC, there are 13 Million flu cases thus far in the 2019-2020 flu season. Not a number to dismiss.
5 Tips To Protect Employees
From The Coronavirus
1. Don’t Panic
Quite honestly it is pretty scary when you watch the news reports about this virus and see the images of the Chinese citizens wearing face masks and closing down public venues.
However, the healthcare in the United States is still one of the best in the world and is preparing for more cases.
2. Be Aware Of Coronavirus
Business owners should pay attention to all health issues and be advocates for keeping employees healthy.
Take the time to learn about this illness so you can speak to employees in a sensible, calm manner.
3. Postpone Travel To China
Most small businesses aren’t taking trips to Wuhan, China.
However, if your business does go to China, you might want to postpone those trips for a while.
The State Department is asking citizens to avoid China for a while so you should encourage employees to adhere to that request.
4. Educate Employees
We are in one of the most advanced countries when it comes to healthcare, however, many of us don’t take common-sense precautions for staying healthy.
Basic healthy hygiene practices are said to be one of the best deterrents to the spread of this and all viruses.
- Cover mouth with tissues when coughing – then discard contaminated tissue.
- Avoid close contact with someone who is sick. Six feet is the safe zone.
- Wash hands – for 20 seconds then a thorough rinse – constantly, but particularly after sneezing, coughing, or facial contact.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available but always choose water and soap as the first option.
- Sanitize work areas – door knobs, phones, light switches, work areas.
5. Encourage Sick Days
This is difficult for many business owners because when employees don’t come to work, momentum slows.
However, the best way to keep a workforce healthy is to minimize exposure to illness while at work.
To minimize exposure at work it is important that employees don’t play the hero and come to work when they are sick.
Educate employees on the importance of caring for themselves and others by encouraging them to take advantage of paid time off or sick day benefits.
The last thing you want is to close the entire operation because everyone is sick.
Business owners juggle many responsibilities and need a healthy workforce to help them achieve business objectives.
Take the time to pay attention to health risks and educate employees so you can stay ahead of the curve and keep your employees healthy.
If you are interested in an education in the Coronavirus, this video from the World Health Organization is a great resource.