What You Need to Know About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The CDC recommends that you seek the personalized advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of something you have read here.
By Toni Dupell of WB Engineers + Consultants, Communications Committee Member
COVID-19: What it is
- Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause either mild illness, such as a cold, or can make people sick with pneumonia.
- The strain of coronavirus that was recently detected in thousands of people worldwide is a novel (new) coronavirus, which means that it has not previously been found in humans.
- There are no specific vaccines or treatments available for this novel coronavirus, or any other coronavirus.
- If you are experiencing symptoms and want to get tested, talk to your health care provider.
- Symptoms can include fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- An infection can result in death, but that is a rare outcome.
- The CDC believes, as of this writing, that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Those at Risk:
- As of this writing, it was reported that the risk to New Yorkers is low.
- If you were recently in Mainland China or other affected areas and have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your primary health care provider.
- As of this writing, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19.
- Get your flu shot.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20+ seconds.
- Stay home if you are not feeling well.
- People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
- For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
- People who think they may have been exposed to coronavirus should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
About the Outbreak:
- Coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and continues to spread.
- The coronavirus is thought to have passed from animals to humans, like many similar pathogens, but nothing has been confirmed yet by any peer-reviewed scientific research, global public health agency or academic expert. Beyond that, little is known about its origin.
What Does the Outbreak Mean for Facilities Managers?
- FMs may want to, or be responsible for, purchasing masks/gloves/thermometers. Check with your firm.
- Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans and hand sanitizer.
- Keep workspaces clean! Use cleaners with disinfectant to wipe down workstations, countertops and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes to your staff.
- Ensure that cleaning staff is disinfecting common areas, doorknobs, refrigerator handles – anything people touch moving around a facility that may carry germs.
- Emphasize and encourage healthy hygiene habits and etiquette. Put up posters encouraging staff to stay home when sick, to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands), and to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Consider making alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at your place of business. You can order free posters from the Health Department reinforcing these healthy habits by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/coronavirus to download and print.
Additional resources for FMs: