We are a few weeks into the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and many are afraid and confused. Here’s what we know about the virus and what you can do to protect your office.
There are many kinds of human coronaviruses, including the ones that cause the common cold. COVID-19 is a novel virus, which means it hadn’t been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is spread largely from person-to-person via “droplets of saliva or mucus carried in the air for up to six feet or so when an infected person coughs or sneezes.” Those who are ill should cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze, or to avoid traveling and going to crowded areas in general.
You could also catch the virus if you come into contact with an infected surface and touch your mouth, nose, and eyes. The World Health Organization tells us that “[s]tudies suggest that coronaviruses[…]may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.” Even then, the virus’ survival will depend on the type of surface and environmental conditions. This is why the WHO also advises the public to clean surfaces with disinfectants to kill the virus.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
If any of your employees experience these symptoms, they should call their doctor right away—especially if they recently traveled internationally.
Where has coronavirus spread?
There are 88 countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 2020. Besides China, countries with the most cases include Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and France. In the U.S., confirmed cases have exceeded 250 with most cases in Washington State and California. California counties with confirmed cases include Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and more.
Is there a cure?
The short answer is no. Experts are working on a vaccine but there are none available at this point. Those who are sick can take medication to alleviate their symptoms, but there is no particular medicine that will cure the infection.
How can my workplace stay protected?
The good news is that your employees can reduce their chances of infection with the following tips:
- First of all, don’t panic. According to the New York Times coverage of the virus, “[w]hile the outbreak is a serious public health concern, the majority of those who contract the coronavirus do not become seriously ill, and only a small percentage require intensive care.”
- Wash your hands. It’s simple and it works, but it can be the hardest step to follow. Have some alcohol-based sanitizer in case soap and water are not immediately available to you. Keep in mind that gel sanitizers must be at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or onto a tissue and dispose of it properly. Face masks are recommended only for those who are already sick.
- Disinfect hard and “high-touch” surfaces like tables, countertops, your phone, door knobs, toilets and other bathroom fixtures.
- Stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms.
- Keep track of your local news and be on the lookout for instructions from your county health officials.
Whether there is an outbreak or not, practice good personal and office hygiene to protect yourself and others.
What cleaning products can kill coronaviruses?
The EPA has released a list of disinfectants that could kill the virus. With the right disinfectants, you can keep your office space clean and lower your risk of infection. It’s also important that you follow instructions on these cleaning products for better effectiveness, or have a trusted cleaning service to thoroughly do it for you. With our commercial janitorial services, Office Cleaning Long Beach uses disinfectant products to help control exposure to common colds, the flu, and COVID-19. Rest assured that we pay extra attention to high-touch surfaces and have our staff go through regular training to ensure quality service.
For more information on COVID-19, visit these links: