The Untied States Department of Labor reports that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chinese authorities identified an outbreak caused by a novel—or new—coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The virus can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The outbreak began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and has spread to a growing number of countries worldwide—including the United States. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
SARS-CoV-2 is different from six other, previously identified human coronaviruses, including those that have caused previous outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Additional information on coronaviruses is available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus website.
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the cold or flu, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Be vigilant as severe cases may lead to pneumonia, kidney failure or death.
Mild symptoms may include:
- Fever, Chills or Sweating
- Cough (dry)
- Shortness of Breath
- Body Aches & Pains
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
- Loss of Smell and/or Taste
- Purple/Blue Lesions on Toes/Feet
Those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include seniors, and people who have serious pre-existing medical conditions including but not limited to:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Lung Disease
People at higher risk for serious illness and even death from COVID-19 should take extra precautions like:
- Avoiding Crowds
- Practicing Social Distancing
- Washing Hands Often
- Staying Away from Sick People
- If COVID-19 is nearby, STAY HOME
High risk people should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.
The WHO and CDC advises the following prevention methods:
Wash hands frequently and properly
Scrub hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for visibly dirty hands or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently for non-visibly dirty hands.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Maintain Social Distancing
Maintain a distance (WHO: 3 feet, CDC: 6 feet) between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose and Mouth
Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
Clean and Disinfect
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas such as: tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks.
Wear Face Coverings When in Public Settings
The CDC recommends wearing homemade cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain and areas of significant community-based transmission. This does NOT include surgical masks and other critical supplies which should be reserved for healthcare professionals.
Avoid Travel and Large Gatherings
Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits. Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible. Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts – use drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery options.
High Risk Proximity
Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel to hard-hit areas, still seek medical care and be sure to carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered.
Seek Medical Care Early
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and tell your healthcare provider if you have traveled to an area where the virus has been severely impacted, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has respiratory symptoms.
Testing and Treatment
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. They will decide whether you need to be tested.
People at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
PABC does not recommend anyone feed into the negativity or conspiracy theories that we all read online. We also recommend that negative social media and news outlets are limited to maintain a stable overall mental health regarding COVID-19. The only resources that we recommend following for up-to-date information on safety and prevention methods are The WHO and CDC.
For the most up-to-date information on possible vaccines, treatments, FAQs, news and more, please visit the following official health organizations:
For the most up-to-date information on how to keep yourself and others safe in the workplace, please visit the following organization: