We've heard a lot in the news about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. It's understandable if you are concerned. The well being of our youth, families, and staff is vital to all of us.
What is the coronavirus?
· Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
What are the common signs?
· Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
How do I protect myself and the children and families we serve?
The steps to protect yourself from the coronavirus are very similar to what is recommended for typical flu outbreaks. They include:
· Get a flu shot. While there is no vaccine yet for the coronavirus, getting a flu shot if you have not received one in the past year is a proven action of the prevention of many common strains.
· Avoid contact with people who are sick.
· Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Try to limit touching your face. Since flu viruses can live on surfaces for several hours, anything you touch can be transferred to your mouth, eyes, or nose.
· Focus on self-care. Do your best to reduce stress. Eat well and cut back on tobacco and alcohol since these products can make people more susceptible to infection.
· If you are sick with any flu virus, stay home. Notify your supervisor and consult your health provider.
· Cover your cough or sneeze.
· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that you touch frequently.
· For community-based workers, call ahead of visits to find whether members of the house or classroom are sick. If this is the case, reschedule.
· Discuss with your supervisor how to ensure clients and families at risk can be seen.
What should do I do if I cannot make it into work?
· Notify your supervisor as soon as possible.
· Follow directions provided by your supervisor, which may include notifying HR if you have a doctor-diagnosed illness.
Orchard Place’s Safety Committee:
· The Safety Committee has assumed responsibility for monitoring information from local, state, and national health authorities.
· The Safety Committee works with each branch to ensure safety plans are in place.
For more information on the coronavirus, please view documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
We will update Orchard Place staff as we learn more about the Coronavirus and how to prevent the spread of the illness.
If you have additional questions, please reach out to
Aimee Kingery, Safety Committee Chair &
Director of Quality and Compliance
515-868-0193 or ext 2618