With growing concern about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we at HBS (Healthy Building Science) want our clients and community to know we are taking precautionary measures to ensure their safety, health, and well-being as a top priority. In addition to our standard Health and Safety Program at HBS, our staff has been instructed to follow additional steps as recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Please find listed some general information about COVID-19 and steps we can take to be prepared and to prevent the spread of the virus.
Facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is spreading globally and there are instances of COVID-19 community spread in the United States. The general strategies CDC recommends to prevent spread of COVID-19 in long term care facilities are the same strategies these facilities use every day to detect and prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses like influenza.
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What is a Novel Coronavirus?
- A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause milder illness, like the common cold or seasonal flu.
- A diagnosis of coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnoses.
How does the virus spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Everyday Preventative Actions:
- Stay home when you are sick except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
- Minimize close contact avoiding handshaking or hugging.
- Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
- Use disinfectant wipes at stores, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
- Latex or nitrile disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with high use surfaces.
Put your household plan into action https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/index.html
- Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation. Get up-to-date information about local COVID-19 activity from public health officials. Be aware of temporary school dismissals in your area, as this may affect your household’s daily routine.
- Stay home if you are sick. Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If a member of your household is sick, stay home from school and work to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others.
- If your children are in the care of others, urge caregivers to watch for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Continue practicing everyday preventive actions. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily using regular household detergent and water.
- Use a separate room and bathroom prepared for sick household members (if possible). Learn how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home. Avoid sharing personal items like food and drinks. Provide your sick household member with clean disposable face masks to wear at home, if available, to help prevent spreading COVID-19 to others. Clean the sick room and bathroom, as needed, to avoid unnecessary contact with the sick person.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water before disinfection. For disinfection, a list of products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the CBC (Center for Biocide Chemistries), is available at Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Products. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Stay in touch with others by phone or email. If you live alone and become sick during a COVID-19 outbreak, you may need help. If you have a chronic medical condition and live alone, ask family, friends, and health care providers to check on you during an outbreak. Stay in touch with family and friends with chronic medical conditions.
- Take care of the emotional health of your household members. Outbreaks can be stressful for adults and children. Children respond differently to stressful situations than adults. Talk with your children about the outbreak, try to stay calm, and reassure them that they are safe.
- Notify your workplace as soon as possible if your schedule changes. Ask to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick with COVID-19 symptoms, or if your child’s school is dismissed temporarily.
- If your child/children become sick with COVID-19, notify their childcare facility or school. Talk with teachers about classroom assignments and activities they can do from home to keep up with their schoolwork.
- Keep track of school dismissals in your community. Read or watch local media sources that report school dismissals. If schools are dismissed temporarily, use alternative childcare arrangements, if needed.
- Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Resources and Information:
When and How to Wash Your Hands:
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Why? Read the science behind the recommendations.
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,
- Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
- Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. Learn more here.
How to use hand sanitizer
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
Flyers from the CDC