Minnesota Occupational Health (MOH) focuses on delivering integrated, comprehensive occupational health services. Sometimes, as in the case of the rapidly spreading of Coronavirus COVID-19, we rely upon the expertise and specialty care of organizations such as the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control who are tracking and posting updates, sometimes on an hourly basis. Since it is beyond our mission, expertise and staffing to provide individual testing, quarantine and long-term care, employees who believe that they may be exposed, with or without symptoms, should refer to one of these definitive sources of information.
Workers who are in respiratory distress beyond the normal symptoms of colds and influenza should seek immediate medical treatment by calling 9-1-1. Workers who are not in respiratory distress but who have high fever with a deepening, ongoing cough should seek treatment through their primary care hospital or clinic.
In the meantime, PREVENTION is key in order to slow the spread of this illness. What does prevention look like?
- Limit exposures to large group events
- Stay home when sick
Staying home when sick is a fundamental “stop the spread” tip that can be particularly difficult to follow, either because people have no sick leave or feel compelled to be at work.
During an outbreak, we strongly encourage employers to reconsider having people come to work when sick and develop non-punitive leave policies.
Staying home when sick protects not only other individual employees but also the larger workforce. One sick employee staying home may be an inconvenience, but an entire team of sick employees can impact an entire organization.
- Use tissues and cover coughs and sneezes or cough into your elbow. Wash any clothes that are contaminated by your body fluids as they may harbor viable virus for a week or more.
- Thoroughly wash hands or use hand sanitizer with >60% alcohol content. Clean contaminated surfaces by scrubbing with a surface disinfectant.
Through your actions and those of your workforce, the spread, severity and overall impact of this virus upon the individuals and the economy upon which we all rely, can be minimized.
MOH will continue to be a resource for our clients should conditions or guidelines change in any significant way.