As the Coronavirus has now arrived in the United States, many people have questions and concerns on how to prevent getting ill, what to do if they do get ill and what to do if they are impacted by quarantines or school closings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) are providing information that can be found on their websites, which we will link to at the end of this article. In the meantime, here is a look at some additional information that is being provided: WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO CONSIDER It is important for employers to review your current policies so that you can best respond if your employees are directly impacted by the virus. Some may be ill, while others may be absent due to their own illness or because they are taking care of a family member. There is also the chance employees may be under some form of quarantine if they have been, or it is believed they may have been, exposed to the virus. Parents/guardians may need to stay home for extended periods due to their children being home due to school closures. On top of actively encouraging employees to stay home if they are sick, you should also review and update your time-off policies, update or consider work from home policies and, most importantly, make sure to communicate those policies with your staff. Make sure employees are cross-trained so that important tasks can be done. Have a plan in place on what to do if you lose part of your workforce. Also, you should be making sure that your offices, work surfaces, doorknobs, counters, etc. are routinely cleaned. The CDC offers guidance for employers here. Articles of Interest for Employers • Managing Managing COVID-19 In A Union Workforce In The US • Comprehensive FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus (includes info for Union employers!) • COVID-19: Essential Action Items for US Employers to Take Now • Growing Concerns Of Coronavirus Should Spur Plans - Not Panic - In The Workplace • Coronavirus and the Workplace: What Employers Need To Know SYMPTOMS AND PREVENTION* What Are the Symptoms? Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of: • Fever • Cough • Shortness of breath • Pneumonia If you develop these symptoms within 14 days after recent travel, or within 14 days of contact with someone who is showing symptoms and recently returned from travel, please call your primary care provider before seeking treatment in person, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing others. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. The Department of Health is urging you to call your doctor's office before you go in to avoid unnecessarily exposing others to the disease. When you call your doctor's office, nurses and practitioners will advise you as to the best course of action. How to Protect Yourself Regular hand washing remains one of the best defenses against COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, including seasonal flu. People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions: • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. How to Protect Others If you are sick, avoid contact with people and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others. • Stay home when you are sick. • Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve (not your hands) or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Resources NYSDOH: Novel Coronavirus CDC: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) CDC: What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 WHO: Coronavirus Myth Busters OSHA: COVID-19 Guidance Albany Med: Coronavirus Information New York State Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065 THE ECONOMY Another area where there are a lot of questions and concerns regarding the virus is the impact on the global economy. Due to ECA's work with numerous Fringe Benefit Funds, we have received a variety of reports from investment managers and firms offering information, some of which we are able to share with you below. Gallagher: Impact of Coronavirus on Financial Markets Morgan Stanley: Growth, Interrupted; 3 Coronavirus Scenarios for Investors Investment Performance Services: Special Market Commentary Webinar Meketa - The Coronavirus and Recent Market Volatility (you will need to register to watch the webinar) *information regarding symptoms and prevention provided by Albany Med.