From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — The Jefferson County Health Department sent a letter to business leaders on how to plan and respond to the coronavirus.
The letter is below:
The 2019 novel coronavirus causes a potentially severe respiratory disease called COVID-19. This virus, first identified in China, has now been detected worldwide. On February 26, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that further spread in the United States is likely. To date, there are no known cases in the State of Alabama. However, now is the time to conduct planning for the possibility of widespread person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
The CDC recently published detailed guidance for businesses (bttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html). and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) also published guidance as well (http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/assets/cov-businessÂauidance. pdt).
Highlights of the guidance include:
- Encourage and empower employees to stay at home when ill. Additionally, employees should not return to work until their temperature is 100.4Â° For less without the use of fever-lowering medications.
- Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay at home to care for a sick family member, and they should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
- Employees who appear to be ill should be separated from well employees and sent home immediately.
- Emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees through provision of alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol, and encourage good hand washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, including backs of hands and between fingers.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning of frequently used personal and communal workspaces such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs.
- Advise employees, before traveling, to check the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travcl to stay abreast of the latest alerts and bulletins.