Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to 2019 Novel Coronavirus
PLEASE NOTE: NO cases have been reported in Nassau County or Florida but this CDC guidance promotes strategies to promote a healthier workplace and to prepare for continuity of operations in the face of infectious disease outbreaks.
This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.
CDC is working across the Department of Health and Human Services and across the U.S. government in the public health response to 2019-nCoV. Much is unknown about how the 2019-nCoV spreads. Current knowledge is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
CDC Industry Guidance
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people, such as with MERS and SARS. 2019-nCoV is spreading person-to-person in China and some limited person-to-person transmission has been reported in countries outside China, including the United States. However, respiratory illnesses like seasonal influenza, are currently widespread in many US communities.
The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including nCoV, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of 2019-nCoV.
To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of nCoV infection. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.
Recommended strategies for employers to use now:
Planning for a Possible 2019-nCoV Outbreak in the USThe severity of illness or how many people will fall ill from 2019-nCoV is unknown at this time. If there is evidence of a 2019-nCoV outbreak in the U.S., employers should plan to be able to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. For the general American public, such as workers in non-healthcare settings and where it is unlikely that work tasks create an increased risk of exposures to 2019-nCoV, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low. The CDC and its partners will continue to monitor national and international data on the severity of illness caused by 2019-nCoV, will disseminate the results of these ongoing surveillance assessments, and will make additional recommendations as needed.
Planning ConsiderationsAll employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of 2019-nCoV in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:
Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response PlanAll employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from 2019-nCoV while ensuring continuity of operations. During a 2019-nCoV outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.
Resurces for more information:
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