The Facilitator

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:

  • 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. 

Suggested Recommendations:

  • 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: 

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/providers/health-topics/novel-respiratory-viruses.page  

http://community.ifma.org/knowledge_library/b/news_and_updates/posts/health-and-safety-resources-to-safeguard-against-infection 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Fnovel-coronavirus-2019.html 

https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/ 

https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19 

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_00032.html 

 

Vendors:

https://pandemic.internationalsos.com/2019-ncov/ 

https://www.riskadvisory.com/news/implications-of-wuhan-coronavirus-outbreak/  

 

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