- M. Villarreal
What is COVID-19 Coronavirus?
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, and believed to have initially spread from animals to humans but now is spreading from person-to-person contact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Typically, respiratory viruses are most contagious when an individual is most symptomatic, but there have been multiple reports of the virus spreading when the affected individual does not show any symptoms and this virus having the capability to exist up to 17 days on surfaces.
HOW IT SPREADS / SYMPTOMS
COVID-19 Coronavirus Spreads:
• The virus primarily spreads via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
• It spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet).
Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days to as long as 14 days after exposure:
• Fever, cough and/or shortness of breath
For people who are ill with COVID-19, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains 60- 95% alcohol when water and soap are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Stay home if sick.
• Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that have been touched (counters, doorknobs, toilets, phones, etc.).
• Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue, then immediately dispose of the tissue and wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
• It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
• The CDC does not recommend the routine use of respirators (facemasks): https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirator-use-faq.html
Keeping Employees Safe: What to do if an employee shows flu-like symptoms
• It is highly recommended that any employees who are showing flu-like symptoms should be excluded from the operation until they are symptom free.
Keeping Customer Safe: What to do if a customer shows flu like symptoms in the restaurant
According to the CDC, the spread of COVID-19 occurs when people are in close contact (less than 6 feet) with an infected person. Some basic steps that could be taken are:
• Provide the customer with additional napkins or tissues to use when they cough or sneeze
• Make sure alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available for customers to use
• Be sure to clean and sanitize any objects or surfaces that may have been touched
Bodily Fluid Event: What to do if there is a bodily fluid event
If a customer or employee vomits or has diarrhea it is recommended (AT THIS TIME) that the operations follows protocols that are in place for Norovirus be used
• Ensure the employee who is cleaning up the area is using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
• Segregate the area that has been contaminated • Dispose of any food that has been exposed • Ensure any utensils that might have been exposed are cleaned and sanitized
• Frequently clean and sanitize the area to include the floor, walls and any other objects contaminated by the incident
• Properly dispose any of the equipment that was used to clean up the area
original article publihed 3/20/2020 on foodsafetyfocus.com