Part One: Stop the Spread – Protecting Yourself and Others
We are bringing you a three-part series of toolbox talks covering the current pandemic COVID-19 virus to help keep you informed on the virus, how to stay safe at your job site and how to cope with the stress. This situation is in a constant state of flux as new information about the virus emerges, as well as what the data helps us understand how to manage all aspects of our lives from work to personal for maximum safety.
Job site safety plans will be updated regularly as needed so please always check there for current information and processes/procedures, as well as the CDC resource center.
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It is a newly discovered coronavirus and it is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person. This can happen between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks may land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into their lungs. COVID-19 can also spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
How can I protect myself and others?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Practice proper social distancing. Limit in-person gatherings to 10 or less people and keep a minimum of 6 feet distance between persons.
- Wear cloth face coverings in settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings should be made according to CDC guidelines. Cloth face coverings are NOT a substitute for social distancing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- In the absence of soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow; throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including tools, PPE and other equipment.
 People 65 years and older, and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
 For example, people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; people who have serious heart conditions; people who are immunocompromised; people with severe obesity; people with diabetes; people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; and people with liver disease.