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The Delaware Division of Public Health this week issued guidelines for businesses to help contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.
While there have been no confirmed cases in Delaware to date of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, public health officials are asking businesses to take the following steps:
• Review plans to operate with adaptations such as telework and flexible sick leave policies that permit employees to stay home and care for a sick family member.
• Review other contingency or emergency operations plans.
• Communicate policies and plans with employees.
• Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff are absent.
• Have a plan in place if an employee does get sick at the workplace.
• Consider not requiring a health care provider’s note for employees with an acute respiratory illness.
In addition, for employers whose employees travel for work or on vacation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its guidance as follows:
Anyone who has returned from a country with a level 2 or higher travel alert – China, Italy, Japan Iran and South Korea – in the past 14 days and has developed symptoms such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath, should contact the Division of Public Health at 1-888-295-5156. Any returning travelers, again within the last 14 days, from these countries who do not have symptoms are also asked to call DPH at 1-888-295-5156 so that we can provide guidance on self-monitoring for symptoms and what to do if you do develop symptoms.
Both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, are asked to stay at home for 14 days after returning from travel. That means no work or no school, and to avoid large gatherings.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms (like the common cold) to people becoming severely ill and dying.
With Delaware experiencing a serious flu season, the Division of Public Health advises that people should get a flu shot and take the following steps:
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it right away.
• Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, including the backs of your hands and under your nails. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Do not touch your face, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean surfaces at work, home or school that you use often.
• Stay home when you are sick and avoid being around well people.
• If you are healthy, the CDC does not recommend buying or using face masks. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A face mask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms.
For more information, visit the Division of Public Health’s coronavirus webpage. Or call the Division of Health call center at 1-866-408-1899, which is staffed Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also email Division of Public Health at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more information from the Division of Public Health on coronavirus.