Coronavirus information: Protect yourself and those around you

March 12, 2020

Learn how you can help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, at home and at work.

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The number of cases of the coronavirus, in the United States is rising, causing increased concern about how to stop the spread of this new disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 38 states and the District of Columbia reported cases as of March 11. This is an evolving situation with new information becoming available throughout each day.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are everyday preventive actions you can take to help protect yourself and others.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after being in public areas; 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 objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you get sick, seek medical care and stay home to avoid getting other people sick.

Actions employers can take

In addition to everyday preventive measures, all workplaces should have plans that focus on preparation for an outbreak in their community. Here are things employers can do to help protect the health of their employees and those they serve.

  • Use materials developed by credible sources, such as your local state and public health departments or the CDC, to promote everyday preventive actions.
  • Have supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and waste baskets, on hand for your employees, volunteers, and those you serve.
  • Be prepared for employee absences by identifying critical job functions and positions, and plan for alternative coverage by cross-training employees if needed.
  • Identify services that might be limited or suspended during an outbreak and find alternatives that will ensure continuity for your community, especially for vulnerable populations you serve.
  • Establish relationships with community partners and stakeholders, such as the local health department, other community and faith leaders, local businesses, and educational institutions, and collaborate with them on broader efforts.

If you think you need care

Patients with the coronavirus have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have the coronavirus or have recently visited an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the coronavirus, call your doctor and follow their instructions (they will be following the CDC’s guidelines for evaluating possible coronavirus patients).


Helpful information

Effective immediately, all three medical options (PPO, EPO, and HDHP) will pay 100 percent of the cost — you pay no deductible, copay, or copayment — for coronavirus testing.