Here are some excellent websites for current information on the Corona Virus.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the recently discovered novel (new) coronavirus. Several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections in humans. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. On January 30, 2020 the International Health REgulations Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” On March 11, 202 the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic.
How does COVID-19 spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales if one breathes in these droplets. Another way is when these droplets land on objects and surfaces and one touches these surfaces, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they can catch COVID-19.
How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around 5 days. These estimates will be updated by WHO as more data becomes available.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19
The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestions, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell..
What do I do if I think someone presents at my office with COVID-19?
Contact your local health department or state health department at 919-733-3419 immediately.
How do I keep my office safe? What do I clean with?
Specific Lysol products have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on hard, non-porous surfaces. In accordance with the EPA Viral Emerging Pathogen Policy. Some Lysol products can be used against 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) when used in accordance with the directions for use.
What does a state of emergency mean?
On March 11, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency. For your reference attached is a link to the NC Department of Public Safety, that describes exactly what that means and what it does not mean. As stated in the NC Department of Public Safety link “Though ‘State Emergency’ may sound ominous, the impact it has on citizens is anything but threatening”. As the Governor stated, the main purpose of declaring a state of emergency is increased flexibility to respond and allocate funds when needed. It can also speed supplies and give health and emergency management more flexibility as well. A state of emergency also protects consumers against price gouging.
What is a pandemic?
Declaring a pandemic has nothing to do with the characteristics of the disease but is instead associated with concerns over is geographic spread. According to WHO, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations. Once a pandemic is declared it becomes more likely that community spread will eventually happen, and governments and health systems need to ensure they are prepared for that.
Recommendations from the WHO
Great cheat sheet for patients regarding the Corona Virus
Great Video by Dr. Outten
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the U.S. Senate voted to approve H.R. 6102 The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives over the weekend. President Trump has signed the bill into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures. The Act takes effect no later than 15 days after March 18. COVID – 19 Testing The Act requires private health plans to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider, urgent care center and emergency room visits in order to receive testing. Coverage must be provided at no cost to the consumer. Emergency Paid Sick Leave The Act requires two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave for full time government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Part time employees must be given the number of hours that they work on average in a two-week period. Leave must be made available immediately to workers who are unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave for the following: (1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. (2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. (3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. (4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in (1) or has been advised as described in (2). (5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions. (6) The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. Paid sick leave payment should be based on the employees’ regular rate of pay and cannot exceed $511 per day or $5110 total in the event of 1, 2, or 3 above. Paid sick leave should be based on 2/3 of the employees’ regular rate of pay and cannot exceed $200 per day or $2000 total in the event of 4, 5, or 6 above. The leave time required in The Act is in addition to any other leave provided by the employer, and the employer may not require employees to first use other accrued leave time, although employees may do so if they choose. Employers must post notices regarding the employee rights provided in The Act; notices are forthcoming from the Secretary of Labor. The Act expires December 31st, 2020. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act The Act provides FMLA rights for some employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees, requiring partially paid leave after 10 days when an employee who has worked at least 30 calendar days for the employer is unable to work or telework due to school or child care closures related to the coronavirus. This benefit would be paid for 10 weeks following the first 2 weeks which would be paid under the Paid Sick Leave provision described above. Scott Benefit Services, a division of James A Scott & Son, Inc. Emergency Paid Family Medical Leave should be based on not less than 2/3 of the employees’ regular rate of pay, based on the number of hours they normally work, and cannot exceed $200 per day or $10,000 total. The Secretary of Labor has the right to exempt business with fewer than 50 employees from these requirements if they threaten the viability of the employer. Exception for Health Care Workers The Act allows an employer of an employee who is a health care provider or emergency responder to exclude that employee from the application of the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act. The Act gives the Secretary of Labor the authority to exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from the definition of eligible employee for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave, including by allowing the employer of health care providers and emergency responders to opt out. Tax Credits for Employers The Act provides a refundable tax credit equal to 100 percent of qualified paid sick leave wages as well as qualified family leave wages paid by an employer for each calendar quarter. The tax credit is allowed against the tax imposed by section 3111(a) (the employer portion of Social Security taxes). Qualified sick leave wages are wages required to be paid by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Qualified family leave wages are wages required to be paid by the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Other Provisions The Act provides funding for economic and nutrition assistance and provides significant unemployment grants to the states. The U.S. Treasury is expected to use its regulatory authority to advance funds to some small businesses to cover the cost of providing paid sick leave.
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