Employee Safety - Stay Updated on the Coronavirus
As you have likely seen on the news, cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Washington state.
Employee safety remains our top priority, so we want to ensure that you have the latest information about COVID-19 and the precautions you can take to protect yourself, your families, your coworkers and clients.
How we are prepared
PHS leaders are working closely to monitor events to ensure a coordinated response to this situation to protect the safety of our staff and our clients. We are fully committed to ensuring PHS is prepared to support our teams, clients, families, and our community. Additionally, we are proactively standing up an Incident Command Center, led by Tony Wright, COO which will huddle daily to allow us to review the latest information and respond appropriately.
Resources and Tips to Protect Yourself and Others
The same practices that stop the spread of colds and the flu are recommended:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Do not share food (no potlucks) and avoid buffet-style restaurants.
- Do not use shared utensils or dishes.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze using your elbow or tissue; avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch.
If you are experiencing cold, fever or flu-like symptoms:
- Know how to contact your manager or VP outside of regular business hours.
- Stay home. Discuss with your manager the option of telecommuting while fever, cold, or flu-like symptoms exist.
Similar to inclement weather policy, employees should discuss with their supervisor whether working remotely is appropriate. If after the discussion, no work is performed for the entire day, available sick or vacation time should be used.
- Staff will be allowed to use available sick or vacation hours to cover the absence(s). If the staff member has no accruals available to apply towards the absence(s), contact your HRBP.
Common questions about COVID-19 and novel coronavirus:
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus that can spread from person to person.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever and cough.
Is there a vaccine or treatment?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this time, the best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands frequently and avoid being exposed to the virus. And while there is currently no specific antiviral treatment, people with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
What should I do if I recently traveled to an affected area, and/or am having cold/flu like symptoms?
If you feel sick with fever or cough, you should first call your medical provider or use MDLive (the tele-healthcare portal available through our insurance) to contact a physician for instructions. It’s important to call before going into a medical facility so that you are directed to the most appropriate care so that medical facilities can take precautions to protect other members, patients, and employees.
What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?
If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please notify your manager before returning to work and call your medical provider or use MDLive to contact a physician for instructions.
What other precautions should I take?
At home, consider reviewing your emergency plan to be prepared for any unexpected emergency and consider how you might protect the rest of your family if one of you gets sick.
You should also consider alternate arrangements for child care in the event that schools in your district are closed. If a staff member is unable to make alternative childcare plans, they should use sick or vacation time to cover the absence(s).
For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the CDC website.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely, will continue to share information by email and will post resources to Pionet as appropriate.