Local Businesses Urged to Review CDC Guidelines For Preventing The Spread of Illness

March 8, 2020, 5:11 PM HST · Updated March 8, 5:11 PM
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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. PC: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM. Content provider: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS

The County of Maui is encouraging local businesses to review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for information and guidance on protecting employees and others from COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

The interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of the virus.

To review the CDC’s interim guidance, click here.

While the interim guidance provides businesses with preventative measures, the recently signed $8.3 billion coronavirus aid package allows for billions of dollars in low-interest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans nationwide. The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship sent a formal letter and request to the SBA to detail its plan to support small business.

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“We are currently looking at ways in which the County can assist our local businesses dealing with impacts from the coronavirus,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a press release.

“As soon as we become aware of more information and help from the state and federal government, we will be passing this support to our small businesses.”

CDC recommended strategies employers can use now include:

  • Encouraging employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours. Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Consider implementing sick leave policies that are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Employees who arrive to work sick or become sick during the day, should be separated from others and sent them home immediately.
  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained as much as possible. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.The County of Maui also encourages local businesses to review Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and guidelines. Although the U.S. Department of Labor has not published a specific OSHA standard covering the coronavirus yet, existing requirements may help to prevent the spread of illness and maintain operations.Employers and businesses can review Hawaiʻi’s state plan standards by clicking here. General information and resources on COVID-19 (coronavirus) can be found on the County of Maui’s website. For primary sources of information and updates, visit the State DOH website and CDC website.
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