Healthcare businesses are in the direct line of fire against the raging COVID-19 pandemic. From the time people infected with the coronavirus start feeling sick, to when they are admitted for care, they are likely to have come in contact with a number of healthcare businesses and workers.
Which healthcare workers are at risk?
It is likely that people feeling ill will visit the local pharmacy to buy painkillers and cough mixtures to treat their symptoms. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and cashiers are therefore at risk of infection. As their symptoms get worse and they visit their primary doctor, go to the emergency room or are transported to the hospital, all businesses and their employees down the line are also at risk. This includes ambulance technicians, physician office staff, laboratory personnel, and nurses.
It is therefore important that healthcare personnel and businesses arm themselves with knowledge and take necessary precautions to protect their employees and businesses.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common in animals. Until recently, only four coronaviruses were known to cause disease in humans. They are the cause of about 20% of the common cold, a mild and non-deadly infection of the upper respiratory tract.
Two coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, originally found in bats, made a transition into humans and became the first coronaviruses known to cause deadly illness in humans. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19, now named SARS-CoV-2 is the third to cause deadly human disease.
Where did coronavirus come from?
SARS-CoV-2 also came from bats. It is likely that it first transitioned from bats to some other animal sold in the Huanan “wet market” before infecting humans. Huanan is in Wuhan China and is an open market in which live fish, livestock and wild animals are kept, butchered and sold. This is similar to what happened with SARS, people became sick after handling civet cats contaminated with coronavirus from bats. In the case of MERS, people caught the disease from camels infected with bat coronavirus.
We live in a connected world and can get from one side of the planet to the other within 24 hours. So once there is a disease outbreak anywhere in the world, it can get everywhere in the world.
How is coronavirus transmitted from people to people?
COVID-19 is a disease of the lungs so one major way infected people can transmit it to others is through coughing. The aerosol produced from a cough or sneeze of an infected lung contains millions of virus particles that can linger in the air for as long as 45 minutes, ready to cause an infection in a passerby who breathes it in.
The other thing is that like the SARS virus, SARS-CoV-2 can persist on contaminated surfaces for several days. So, the virus can be transmitted to people unwittingly touching door handles, stairway railings and elevator buttons contaminated from the touch of an infected person.
How can I protect myself as a healthcare worker, from coronavirus?
Social distancing is awesome and effective. Unfortunately, healthcare businesses are at the frontline and employees by the nature of their work, are the ones to actually help and support COVID-19 victims. So here are some important common-sense tips:
- Do not touch or handle a sick person if you are not trained or required to do so. Your role, for example, as a receptionist is still vital to the overall care.
- Adhere strictly to protocol and wear personal protective gear when supporting or handling a sick person, and get appropriately decontaminated after your job is done.
How do I protect others from coronavirus?
Practice hand-sanitization like crazy and advise others to do so. The best hand-sanitizer is soap and water. Wash your hands with soap and water at every opportunity.
Alcohol hand sanitizers are the next best thing, only make sure that the active is ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and that the strength is at least 70%. This was proven to work best during the SARS, MERS and even the Ebola outbreak, and it is what the CDC recommends.
If you start feeling feverish and start to cough, make sure you cover your mouth, by coughing into the elbow or wear a mask to prevent spreading aerosol.
What should I do to protect my workers from coronavirus?
As a healthcare business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that employees are trained and understand the importance of what they do. Acquire all necessary equipment to fight this disease and supply hand sanitizers at various vantage points in your business.
We are all in this together, and the world owes a debt of gratitude to healthcare workers, who are at the frontline in this fight for human survival.
How do I get financing for my business during a coronavirus shutdown?
LaGray Finance is partnered with hundreds of banks and lending institutions nationwide. We are therefore positioned to find you the financing you need to keep afloat during these tough times.
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