Updated on 02/28/2020, 10:00 AM EST

The world’s health community is preparing for a significant outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). While most of the cases have been reported outside of the United States, there are patients in the country who have tested positive for the illness.

The AmeriLife Disasters Response Team is monitoring the situation and has in place procedures to address a severe outbreak, including working remotely.

The United States government is advising residents not to panic, but to prepare.

According to Lisa Lockerd Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H. with Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Coronavirus is similar to the flu as it is an infectious, respiratory disease. The differences are that the Coronavirus is caused by one, novel virus and might be transmitted through an airborne route that permits tiny droplets to remain in the air after the infected person is no longer nearby. In addition, a vaccine is available to prevent the flu, and no such vaccine is yet available for the Coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following steps to prevent contracting the illness:

  • Stay home when you are sick. AmeriLife offers a generous PTO plan that allows employees to borrow up to a maximum of five (5) PTO days (40 hours) with manager approval.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaner or wipes.
  • Follow CDC recommendations for using a facemask.
    • The CDC does not recommend people who are not sick wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including the Coronavirus and the flu.
    • People who show symptoms of the Coronavirus should wear a facemask to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

This is a good time to remind us all that the flu kills between 12,000 – 61,000 Americans each year, and it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

AmeriLife’s highest priority is the health and safety of its associates. As mentioned above, the company is monitoring the situation and will err on the side of caution when it comes to addressing a significant outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Click here for the latest information from the CDC about the Coronavirus.

 

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