Officially it is a virus called coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which was first reported from Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. Technically, it is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Information and recommendations change almost daily with COVID-19. This virus is very contagious and is spreading rapidly. The measures that PHS and other companies are taking are intended to slow the spread. It is important to the community at large that we do our best to reduce the likelihood of passing on the virus to others. These are PHS’ current recommendations; we will continue to update you as they evolve.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community and precautions are recommended.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste
If you are experiencing any symptoms, please report them to your manager as we are tracking/monitoring risk factors for employees at all locations. Additionally if in doubt or if you are experiencing more severe symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional or take emergency action if appropriate.
Employees enrolled in the PHS health plan also have the “98Point6” telemedicine option for a more personalized assessment. Most other employees should have an alternate telemedicine option available through their own health plan. Of course, calling or making an appointment with your medical provider is always advisable.
Early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease
- Immune-compromised individuals