As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) slowly appears outside China, employers should take precautions to protect their workplaces. To that end, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidance for businesses and employers regarding COVID-19.
While the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, COVID-19 is not the flu. Coronaviruses range from the common cold to SARS and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). COVID-19’s symptoms are a mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear in two to 14 days after exposure. There is no easy way to test for COVID-19. A person may be infectious even if she does not have symptoms. COVID-19 appears to spread between people who have close contact with one another, i.e., being coughed or sneezed upon.
The CDC’s guidance is intended to help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance should be used to determine the risk of COVID-19 infection. Determinations of risk should not be based on race or country of origin. Confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection must be maintained.
We will continue to monitor developments in this area.