What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?

We tell you how Covid-19 is spread, what to do if you have a work trip and what happens if a person in the office gets it.

10 min read

This story originally appeared on High Level

What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?
What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?

This week the World Health Organization gave the declaration of a pandemic to the Covid-19 coronavirus infection that is affecting much of the world.

Given this scenario, Jorge Salas Hernández, director general of the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) , highlighted in the program Despierta de Noticieros Televisa that people who present possible symptoms of Covid-19 contagion should dial the phone of the Intelligence Unit Epidemiological and Health (UiES) 800-00-44-800, before going to hospitals. This is to avoid that the affected people have more circulation through the populations since the average time that the coronavirus can last in a person is approximately two weeks.

Image: Ministry of Health

“To this 800 number that has been established by the Ministry of Health, people speak to give guidance, some questions to have more clarity if it is a suspicious case and indeed health personnel, in the case of Mexico City they go to the home of the person to make a clinical evaluation and determine if the sample should be taken, ”Hernández said in an interview with Danielle Dithurbide in Salas. Specialists take the coronavirus sample at the person's home, and the person goes to the National Institute of Diagnostic Epidemiological Reference (InDRE) for analysis.

Salas Hernández remarked that the most vulnerable people are children five years old and younger, pregnant women, the elderly and those who suffer from chronic diseases. However, he stressed that cases of hospitalization due to coronavirus occur because patients develop pneumonia and progressive respiratory distress.

Given the confirmation of the presence of several cases of this virus in Mexico and the probable appearance of the most affected, what to do to prevent infections at home and at work? We share this guide published by the WHO:

First, how is the coronavirus spread?

When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales, they release drops of infected fluid. Most of these drops fall on nearby surfaces and objects, such as desks, tables, or phones. People can become infected by touching contaminated surfaces or objects, and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. If they are standing less than a meter from a person with coronavirus, they can attract it by breathing in drops expelled or expelled by them.

In other words, COVID-19 spreads similarly to the flu.

How to prevent the disease from spreading?

These low-cost measures will help prevent the spread of infections in the workplace, such as colds, flu, and stomach infections, and will protect your customers, contractors, and employees.

Employers should start doing these things now, even if the coronavirus has not reached the communities where they operate and can thus reduce work days lost due to illness and stop or delay the spread if it reaches one of their workplaces. .

Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic

  • Surfaces (eg desks and tables) and objects (eg telephones, keyboards) should be cleaned with disinfectant regularly. Why? Because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads
  • Promote regular and thorough hand washing by employees, contractors, and customers.
  • Place hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are refilled regularly
  • Display posters promoting handwashing – request these from your local public health authority.
  • Combine this with other communication measures, such as offering guidance from occupational safety and health officials, briefings at meetings, and information on the intranet to promote handwashing.
  • Make sure staff, contractors, and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water. Why? Because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19
  • Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace.
  • Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other measures, such as offering guidance from occupational safety and health officials.
  • Make sure there are facial masks and / or tissue paper available in your workplace for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work

What to do if an employee and / or manager has to take a work trip?

  • Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel tips before undertaking business trips.
  • Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay home even if they have mild symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Anyone with a mild cough or mild fever (37.3 degrees Celsius or higher) should stay home . They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as acetaminophen / acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin, which can mask symptoms of infection.
  • Display posters with this message in your workplaces. Combine this with other communication channels commonly used in your organization or business.
  • Make it clear to employees that this time will be counted as sick leave and their wages will not be deducted.


Before travelling

  • Make sure your organization and employees have the latest information on the areas where the COVID-19 coronavirus is spreading. You can find this on the WHO page.
  • Based on the latest information, your organization should assess the benefits and risks associated with upcoming travel plans.
  • Avoid sending employees who may be at increased risk of serious illness (for example, older employees and people with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease) to areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
  • Make sure that everyone traveling to places with COVID-19 is informed by a qualified professional (for example, staff health services, healthcare provider, or local public health partner).
  • Consider sending employees who are about to travel with small bottles (less than 100 CL) of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This can facilitate regular hand washing.

While traveling

Encourage employees to wash their hands regularly and to stay at least a meter from people who cough or sneeze.

Make sure employees know what to do and who to contact if they feel sick while traveling .

Make sure your employees follow the instructions of the local authorities where they travel. If, for example, local authorities tell them not to go somewhere, they must comply with this . Your employees must comply with local restrictions on travel, movement or large meetings.

When you or your employees return from traveling

  • Employees who have returned from an area where the choroanvirus is spreading must monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day.
  • If they develop even a mild cough or low fever (that is, a temperature of 37.3 C or more) they should stay home and isolate themselves . This means avoiding close contact (one meter or closer) with other people, including family members. They should also call their healthcare provider or local public health department, giving them details of their recent travel and symptoms.

What to do if the coronavirus reached your city or community?

  • Develop a plan for what to do if someone at work gets sick and is suspected to be a coronavirus.
  • The plan should encompass: placing the sick person in a room or area where they are isolated from other people in the workplace, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person, and contacting local health authorities.
  • Consider how to identify and support people who may be at risk, without inviting stigma and discrimination to your workplace. This could include people who have recently traveled to an area with cases, or other staff who have conditions that put them at higher risk for serious illness (for example, diabetes, heart and lung disease, older age).
  • Inform your local public health authority that you are developing the plan and ask for their opinion.
  • Promote regular home office work throughout your organization. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, health authorities can advise people to avoid public transportation and crowded places. The home office will help your business continue to operate while your employees stay safe.
  • Develop a contingency and business continuity plan for an outbreak in the communities where your business operates.
  • The plan will help prepare your organization for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak in your workplace or community. It can also be valid for other health emergencies.
  • The plan should address how to keep your business running, even if a significant number of employees, contractors, and suppliers are unable to go to your place of business, either because of local travel restrictions or because they are ill.
  • Communicate with your employees and contractors about the plan and make sure they are aware of what to do, or not do, under the plan . Emphasize key points like the importance of staying away from work even if you have mild symptoms or have had to take simple medications (for example, acetaminophen, ibuprofen) that may mask the symptoms.
  • Make sure your plan addresses the social and mental health consequences of a COVID-19 case in the workplace or in the community and offers information and support.
  • For small and medium-sized businesses without internal health and wellness support from internal staff , develop partnerships and plans with your local health and social service providers before any emergency.

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