North Carolina’s COVID-19 Task Force Urging Residents to Prepare For Spread of Infections

6231

Yesterday the CDC stated that a community outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is no longer “a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when…”

North Carolina’s COVID-19 Task Force issued a statement regarding the increased risk of an outbreak in our state. In it, they urge all businesses, schools, health care providers, communities and individuals to prepare.

“NCDHHS has been coordinating with the CDC and state and local partners to prepare for COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak in China,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for NCDHHS.

They list the following measures as steps to take to prepare for potential widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the state:

Individuals, Families and Communities

  • NCDHHS recommends everyone continue taking precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses, which includes COVID-19.
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • It is also good practice to start being more aware of the number of times a day your hands touch an object or hard surface and then touch your face without being washed. Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth and eyes to unwashed hands can help to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.
  • Have a plan in case you need to miss work or other responsibilities due to personal illness or to care for a sick family member.
  • For pregnant women and children, review the information and guidance available on the CDC website.

Businesses and Employers

  • Practice good hand hygiene and encourage your employees and patrons to take common-sense precautions to protect themselves from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review your policies and procedures for remote or teleworking where possible.
  • Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences.
  • Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.
  • If you have not already, establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Look for more updates and guidance for businesses available on the CDC website.

Health Care Providers and Hospitals

  • Review policies and procedures for infection prevention and mitigation, and make sure that all employees are aware of and following the appropriate steps.
  • Consider how to maximize the use of telemedicine, nurse triage lines and other options to prevent sick people from coming to clinics and emergency rooms if they have mild illness and do not need treatment.
  • Continue implementing the NCDHHS and CDC guidance for COVID-19 and continue working closely with your local health department and NCDHHS.
  • Look for more updates and information for health care professionals on the CDC website.

College, Universities, K-12 Schools and Child Care Facilities

  • Make sure all students, faculty and staff are aware of and practicing good hand hygiene and taking common-sense precautions to protect from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review absenteeism policies and procedures to make sure students or children, faculty and staff are not being encouraged to attend or work if they are sick.
  • If you have not already, establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Learn more about COVID-19 on the CDC website, and look for updates and information for schools, colleges and childcare.

No one group, ethnicity or population in the US is at a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 infection than others. While some people may be worried or have concerns about COVID-19, it is important to not let fear and anxiety lead to social stigma towards friends, neighbors or members of the community. Treat all people with compassion and speak up if you hear others making statements that cause stigma against people in your community.

If you have questions or concerns, call the COVID-19 Helpline toll free at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”

Comments

comments