On Tuesday, March 3 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 60 cases of COVID-19 from 12 states. Twenty-two of these cases are travel-related; 11 are believed to be person-to-person spread; and for the remaining 27 the source of exposure is still under investigation. Noteworthy developments in recent days include:
- Florida announced its first and second presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, one in a person with recent travel history (to Italy), the other with no currently known travel or contact history.
- Georgia announced its first and second confirmed cases of COVID-19, one is a person with recent travel history (to Italy), the other in a close contact of the first patient.
- New Hampshire also reported its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a person with recent travel history (to Italy).
- New York state announced its first case of COVID-19 in a person with recent travel history (to Iran).
- Rhode Island announced its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a person with recent travel history (to Italy).
- Washington state announced more cases of COVID-19 associated with an outbreak in a long-term care facility. Washington has announced it now has 14 cases of COVID-19, including 6 COVID-19 deaths.
The 12 states that have reported cases include: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Cases reported to CDC include those confirmed by CDC as well as presumptive positive cases reported by states. A presumptive positive result is when a patient has tested positive by a public health laboratory, but results are pending confirmation at CDC. For public health purposes, a presumptive positive result using the CDC test is treated as a positive.
U.S. companies are being advised to stop employee travel to high-risk countries and to develop plans to address a possible U.S. expansion of the virus, which may require limiting employee travel within the U.S. and outlining work-from-home strategies.
Employees should take the same precautions we are used to hearing about with seasonal influenza to protect themselves, both with the hand washing, more hand washing, less face touching, and avoiding contact with others, particular others who might be ill, and trying to practice good social distancing as much as possible at this time to decrease their risk as much as possible. Employers can print and post CDC fact sheets that remind employees when to wash their hands.
As it becomes increasingly harder to find hand sanitizer in the stores, we should remember hand washing is our first defense against infectious diseases. The CDC only recommends using hand sanitizer if one does not have access to soap and water.
Employers in the U.S. should review their infectious-disease management plans. We have created a short video to help you protect your company. Watch our video as we discuss the effects this virus has on U.S. Employers and how to prepare for it.
- Learn precautions your company can take now
- Keep employees safe while reducing liability for discrimination claims
- Make sure you don’t inadvertently violate ADA rules
- Balance workplace safety with employee protections under ADA and Title VII
For more information contact us.