Learn how to keep your employees healthy during the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Employer Solutions, Coronavirus Updates | 2 years ago

Coronavirus: How to Keep Your Workforce Safe

Learn how to keep your employees healthy during the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

By now, you’ve most likely heard in great detail about the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Since it was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the virus has raised concern worldwide.

At Atrium Health Employer Solutions, we’re here to answer your questions, keep you informed and share the simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your employees.

Should I be worried about COVID-19 in my workplace?

COVID-19 doesn’t cause serious health problems for most people who are otherwise healthy. At this time, deaths from COVID-19 have occurred primarily in individuals over the age of 65 with multiple health conditions.

To help protect those at the highest risk, it’s important for everyone to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remember that the situation is still evolving and there’s a lot we don’t yet know about this new disease.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Right now, it’s far more likely that you or your employees would have the flu or another type of respiratory virus than COVID-19.

How can I protect my staff?

COVID-19 mostly spreads from person-to-person through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This is similar to how the flu and common cold spread.

You and your employees should continue to take the commonsense steps you would normally take to avoid catching a virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with someone who’s sick.
  • Cover your sneezes or coughs with your elbow or a tissue (then throw the tissue away).
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects people frequently touch.

As an employer, you should also:

  • Encourage employees to stay home when they’re sick. Having sick employees at work puts you and the rest of your workforce at risk. In certain cases, this might mean reviewing your paid time off and sick leave policies.
  • Consider work-from-home arrangements for those who are at risk or currently sick with mild symptoms. While many jobs require people to be physically present, work that can be done remotely should be encouraged if it reduces the risk of exposure.
  • Consider canceling non-essential business travel and requesting a 2-week work-from-home arrangement for those who have traveled to high-risk areas. You can track the latest travel information from the Centers for Disease CDC here.
  • Develop a plan for coordinated communication with employees, including those not at the worksite. There’s a lot of information out there about COVID-19, and it’s important to ensure your employees receive factual, consistent updates about the disease and company policies.

Where can sick employees get care?

We encourage anyone who’s sick to stay home to rest – and to prevent germs from spreading.

Your employees can keep themselves and others safe by getting care from the comfort of their home. Through Atrium Health’s Virtual Visit, they can have a live video visit with a healthcare provider from home, 24/7 – no appointment required. They can start a Virtual Visit any time at AtriumHealth.org/VirtualVisit.

We ask that anyone who needs in-person care for severe respiratory symptoms calls us before they arrive at the doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room. This will help our healthcare providers take steps to get them the right care and keep others from being exposed.

Where can I learn more?

Please note that the situation is rapidly evolving, and the information and recommendations here may change.

We encourage you to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for comprehensive information and breaking news. Be sure to review the CDC’s resources and guidance for businesses and employers here.

For local information from public officials, check Mecklenburg County’s COVID-19 page.

For updates on how and where to get care, visit AtriumHealth.org/Coronavirus.

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, you can call North Carolina’s COVID-19 Helpline at 1-866-426-3821. The service is staffed by North Carolina Poison Control 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.