Safety Update from CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary

Background

The Center for Disease Control is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

Source and Spread of the Virus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-COV, SARS-COV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.

Early on, many of the patients in the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread has been reported outside China, including in the UNITED STATES and OTHER LOCATIONS. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China. In addition, OTHER DESTINATIONS HAVE APPARENT COMMUNITY SPREAD, meaning some people have been infected who are not sure how or where they became infected. Learn what is known about the SPREAD OF NEWLY EMERGED CORONAVIRUSES.

Situation in U.S.

Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been DETECTED IN THE U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.

What May Happen

More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. NONPHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS would be the most important response strategy.

CDC Response

Global efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. The public health response is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the United States so as to reduce the spread and the impact of this virus. CDC is operationalizing all of its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working on multiple fronts to meet these goals, including specific measures to PREPARE COMMUNITIES to respond local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. There is an abundance of PANDEMIC GUIDANCE developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic that is being repurposed and adapted for a COVID-19 pandemic.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for HEALTH WORKERS and PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING CARE OF SOMEONE IN CLOSE SETTINGS (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’S HANDWASHING website.

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’S HAND HYGIENE IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FOR TRAVELERS.

For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

Printable PDF File: What to do if you have coronavirus COVID19?

In safety and solidarity,
Jim Finch
Local 223 Health & Safety Director and Safety Committee Member

Keep Your Cool On Heat Exhaustion

Here are some tips on how to beat the heat and stay safe this summer.

Guidelines For Heat Stress

Younger people in general good health and who are physically fit tolerate heat exposure with the least danger and discomfort. Persons who are obese as well as the older worker will be in the greatest danger and discomfort during heat exposure. If you are exposed to high heat, here are some early warning signs and symptoms of heat stress and how to prevent heat related illness. First, establish a network with co-workers working in high temperature areas to watch one another for developing signs and symptoms of heat stress.

Prepare For Work

  •  To prepare to work in high temperatures, get plenty of rest the night before
  •  Eat regularly balanced meals.
  •  Do not consume alcohol eight (8) hours before working in a hot environment since it can cause dehydration.
  •  Drink plenty of water or juices and avoid large amounts of fluids that contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes your body to require more water than usual.
  •  Before working in a hot environment spend some time in a warm area to acclimate to the heat.
  •  Pre-load with an electrolyte balanced liquid like QUICKICK. Drink 1 to 2 glasses prior to working in a hot environment.
  •  Take frequent breaks and drink more QUICKICK as needed during and after the high temperature exposure.
  •  Always work in pairs unless it’s impossible.
  •  Know the signs and symptoms of heat stress and leave the area if you feel ill.
  •  Wear loose fitting, light colored, porous clothing much as cotton that allows free air circulation over the body whenever possible.
  •  If working outdoors wear a brimmed hat.
  •  When possible increase circulation of air by opening windows, use of fans and decrease humidity

Signs Of Beginning Heat Stress

Remove anyone out of the heat into a cool area who complains of any of the following:
  •  Any person who complains of feeling hot and “funny”
  •  Appears disoriented.
  •  Has a flush face.
  •  Is covered with sweat.
  •  Appears irritable.
  •  Seems to stagger or be physically unstable.

Symptoms Of Heat Stress

Persons complaining of:
  •  Headache
  •  Nausea
  •  Dizziness
  •  Hot dry pale skin
  •  Weakness
  •  Confusion

Treatment Of Heat Overexposure

  •  Remove or loosen clothing and rest in cool, well-ventilated area or shower in tepid (not cold) water. If the nurse is in bring the person to her as soon as possible.
  •  Drink small amounts of a QUICKKICK like liquid.
  •  Seek medical help if you feel dizzy, faint, or nauseated after you have cooled down or if you develop muscle cramps.

Emergency Measures If Someone Collapses During Heat Stress

  •  Call the nurse or take to a well-ventilated area.
  •  Lay down and either remove or loosen clothing and fan the body surface.
  •  Do not force the person to drink liquids.

Most likely recovery will occur spontaneously and quickly if the skin is moist and cool. When the person has regained consciousness, determine if he/she was injured when they collapsed. The person should be watched closely while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Send to an Emergency Facility for examination or treatment.

No one who collapses during heat exposure should be allowed to become heat exposed again for at least 24 hours.

NOTE: If the person either does not recover consciousness within 2 minutes, or he/she skin is hot and dry, flood the skin and clothing surfaces with tepid (not cold) water and fan the body surface vigorously while someone else seeks Immediate Emergency Medical Help.

Guideline Table

Temperature – Up to 90 degrees F
  •  Work Time Limit – Up to Two Hours
  •  Action to Take – Break and drink Quickkick as needed

Temperature – 90 degrees to 120 degrees F
  •  Work Time Limit – 45 Min. to 1 Hour
  •  Action to Take – Break and drink Quickkick as needed

Temperature – Above 120 degrees F
  •  Work Time Limit – Limit work time to 15 to 20 minutes or use an Ice Jacket
  •  Action to Take – With Ice Jacket Limit Time to 30 to 45 Minutes.

All of the above guidelines were taken from the Detroit Edison’s Guidelines for Supervisors

Please remember – safety first, always!

Sincerely,
Local 223 Executive Board and Safety Directors

Look Before You Lock – Where’s The Baby?

Written By Jim Finch, Local 223 Safety Director

Summer time is here again, which is a great time to remind everyone to Look Before You Lock. Several years ago I heard a radio commercial about a new campaign called “Where’s the Baby? “Look before you lock,” a U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Administration campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars.

Who is at greatest risk for heat-related illness? Infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.

ACCORDING TO HEALTHYCHILDREN.ORG, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 15. On average, 38 children die from heat-related deaths trapped inside vehicles every year, one child every nine days. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.

According to the WWW.KIDSANDCARS.ORG website, there have already been 21 child vehicular heat stroke deaths in 2019 and 52 children died of heatstroke in 2018, the year with the most fatalities.

Watch Video

Each summer we see evening news reports about infants who have died due to heatstroke after being left in the car unintentionally. This campaign is a call to action for parents and families and everybody else who cares about children. Incidents mostly occur when there is a change from the normal schedule and the parent who isn’t accustomed to dropping the child off at daycare even for one day could get distracted and forgets. HEATSTROKE FACT SHEET

The Greenhouse Effect in Vehicles
  •  The inside of a vehicle heats up VERY quickly! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in minutes.
  •  80% of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes
  •  Cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process OR decrease the maximum temperature
  •  Children have died from heatstroke in cars in temps as low as 60 degrees.

Contributing Factors
  •  A child’s body overheats 3‐5 times faster than an adult body.
  •  A change in daily routine, lack of sleep, stress, hormone changes, fatigue, and simple distractions are things ALL new parents experience and are just some of the reasons children have been unknowingly left alone in vehicles.
  •  Rear‐facing car seats look the same whether there is a baby in it or not.
  •  Children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their rear‐facing child safety seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers.

A child should never be left unattended in a vehicle for any reason. The “Look before you lock” campaign urges parents and caregivers to take important precautions to prevent inadvertent incidents from occurring:

Prevention / Safety Tips

KidsAndCars.org believes the solution to these preventable tragedies is a combination of education and technology. KidsAndCars.org would like all vehicles to come equipped with a system that would alert a driver if a child has been left in the vehicle. Here are some simple tips parents and caregivers can follow to prevent heat stroke tragedies.

Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.

Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:
  ✔  Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind.
  ✔  To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat. Place an employee ID, purse, laptop, phone or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle. Write a note or use a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view or in the front passenger seat to indicate a child is in the back seat.
  ✔  Ask your child care provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  ✔  Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to everyone thinking someone else has removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:
  ✔  Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  ✔  Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  ✔  Teach children to honk the horn if they become stuck inside a car.
  ✔  If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all area vehicles very carefully.

Additional safety tips:
  ✔  Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
  ✔  If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all area vehicles very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
  ✔  If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
  ✔  Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.
  ✔  Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.

Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air condition is on. Teach children a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.

We here at the Local 223 Safety Office wish you and your children a safe summer!

In Solidarity,
Jim Finch – Local 223 Safety Director

EDITORS’s note – It’s not part of the NHTSA campaign, but all of the same rules apply to pets. Do not leave dogs or cats alone in vehicles when it is hot and call 911if you see an animal alone in a hot car.