Taking Care of Yourself and Those Around You
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 or specific antiviral drugs to treat it.
Important steps to protect yourself include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow (not your hand), or use a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid sharing food utensils, containers and other personal items.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get a flu shot. (While it won’t protect against COVID-19, it may help in diagnosis should you display symptoms.)
To protect those around you, stay home if you are sick.
If you become ill with a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher) or cough, and have recently left an area having widespread community transmission of COVID-19 or have had prolonged close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, call HDOH at (808) 586-4586 or your doctor’s office for guidance. If you have trouble breathing, seek medical care immediately or call 911. Be prepared to describe your symptoms, travel history and any contacts with individuals who may have been in an area with widespread prevalence of COVID-19.
Preparing for a Possible Outbreak in Hawaiʻi
Preparing for COVID-19 is similar in many ways to preparing for a flu outbreak or other emergency. Things you can to do prepare yourself and those around you include:
- Check and refresh your disaster supply kit, which should have at least 14 days of food and supplies for everyone in your family and your pets.
- Stock up on all prescription medications—90 days is recommended.
- Prepare for and consider practicing basic social distancing measures like limiting your time spent around large groups and avoiding unnecessary close contact with people (e.g., use fist bumps instead of handshakes or kisses).
- Consider stocking up with a 1 month’s supply of basic household and hygiene items. Supplies of these items may be affected in the event of a pandemic and avoiding excessive trips to crowded stores helps with social distancing and protection.
- Plan for the possibility of cancelled events and activities.
Public Information on COVID-19
We advise everyone to follow authoritative updates from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (HDOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State for the latest information and recommended actions for protection.
- HDOH COVID-19 “What You Need to Know” Flyer: hawaii.gov/docd/files/2020/01/2019-nCoV-flyer-what-you-need-to-know (PDF)
- Hawaiʻi Department of Health (HDOH) Information Page: hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/novel-coronavirus-2019/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) General Information and Status: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
- Hawaiʻi Department of Health COVID-19 Joint Information Center updates: hawaii.gov/news/covid-19-updates/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Information: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/
- S. Department of State Travel Advisories (all): travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories
Aloha UHP ‘Ohana
In light of the novel coronavirus named COVID-19, this message clarifies UHP’s policy on travel by UHP employees.
It is important to remember that the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation. Out of an abundance of caution, we remind all of our UHP employees that any travel to and from Hawaiʻi, including within the United States mainland, may be restricted on short notice. If you are on authorized or personal travel when this happens, you may be delayed in returning to Hawaiʻi.
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisory page (link below) for the latest updates and advice on travelling.
Effective immediately all UHP sponsored travel to domestic or international locations is not permitted without the prior approval of UHP’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Larry Shapiro. If you already have approved travel plans, please contact your Department Administrator or Chair to have your travel plans reviewed in light of this policy. Please direct all submissions for travel approval to Michael Oglesby, HR Director.
For circumstances related to the handling of costs associated with the cancellation of travel, please see below:
· If you already have approved travel-related arrangements and the associated event or travel has been cancelled for reasons outside of your control (i.e. host cancels event, airlines cancels travel, or pursuant to UHP’s travel restriction policy), then UHP will be responsible for all non-refundable cancellation costs.
If under this circumstance you received credit during the cancellation process for funds originally provided by UHP, please contact UHP’s Finance Department to ensure that an accurate documentation and accounting of the credited funds in your personal account is established.
· If you made approved travel-related arrangements before today, March 12, 2020, and the event or travel has NOT been cancelled but you want to cancel your travel for personal reasons, then you may cancel all travel arrangements and UHP will be responsible for all non-refundable cancellation related costs. Currently, most major airlines are offering to waive cancellation or change fees through March 31, 2020. We encourage you to take advantage of these limited time offers and reduce the financial exposure to UHP.
· If you make authorized business related travel arrangements after March 12, 2020, and the event or travel has NOT been cancelled at the time of your departure, but you elect to cancel your travel for personal reasons, UHP will not be responsible for any cancellation related costs, including any of your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you are planning international travel, we encourage you to review the information at the links provided below. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information regarding country specific health information and alerts, as well as travel notice levels as they pertain to COVID-19.
All employees must report any travel to a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Advisory country to your supervisor. We will be extra cautious in considering return to work plans for employees who travel to countries that are recognized by the CDC as having community spread of COVID-19. If you return from a country designated at Level 2 or 3, which are warning levels to avoid nonessential travel as well as special precautions for high-risk travelers, we will be
expecting you to follow CDC guidelines of self-quarantine and/or limited interaction with others for 14 days. Under these circumstances, working remotely may be an option for employees who are showing no signs of illness. Please consult with your supervisor to determine if work from home can be arranged. If telework cannot be arranged, employees may take PTO to ensure their time away from work is paid.
Additionally, it will be necessary for you to obtain clearance from UHP before returning to work.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, so please consult the CDC site listed below to understand the advisory levels for any location you may be travelling to.
If you are showing signs of acute respiratory illness (fever of 100.4 degrees F, shortness of breath, cough) upon return from any destination (foreign or domestic), it is required that you notify your supervisor and you are expected to stay home. It is also recommended that you see your health care provider.
CDC: COVID-19 Information for Travel
U.S. State Department Travel Website for Travel Restrictions and Advisories
Proactive measures to keep our work environment clean
· Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, doorknobs, elevator buttons, telephones, sinks/faucets and toilet handles.
CMO comment for clinic locations:
A reasonable cleaning schedule would be before the clinic opens in the morning, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon and after the clinic closes. If the clinic is open for irregular hours, clean and disinfect high touch surfaces every two hours. (CMO comment)
· Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
If usual cleaning supplies are in short supply, a 10% solution of Clorox household bleach is an excellent and very effective substitute. There are six different types of odors of Clorox bleach, so try to select one whose odor is not unpleasant on in the clinic setting. NEVER mix bleach with ANY OTHER chemical as this can generate a gas that is highly toxic.
When preparing a bleach solution, first wear goggles and gloves, and wear something to protect your clothes from getting a bleach splash. Use a container, such as a new spray bottle or other clean container. Place one ninth of the total solution that you are planning to create, then add 8 ninths of water. For example, use one cup of bleach to eight cups of water, or ¼ cup of bleach to 2 ¼ cups of water. Put the bleach in the container first, then add water.
Maintaining a healthy work environment
· Any employee who has symptoms of acute respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath, and fever) is required to notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. DO NOT COME TO WORK IF YOU HAVE COLD OR FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS.
· If you are already at work, notify your supervisor immediately if you develop acute respiratory illness symptoms.
o Upon CDC recommendation employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms upon arrival to work or become sick during the day will be separated from other employees and be sent home as soon as possible.
· Return to work for employees who have experienced symptoms of acute respiratory illness will require medical clearance from a health care provider.
o This can include the health care provider determining that a test for COVID-19 is not necessary given the symptoms and risk factors involved in the case.
· Any employee who is being tested for COVID-19, either due to illness or environmental exposure to COVID-19 should notify their supervisor immediately to allow for appropriate preventative measures to be taken.
· Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to follow CDC guidelines of self-quarantine for 14 days. Return to work will be allowed upon clearance from a health care provider and follow-up negative test for COVID-19.
· Respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
o Posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette and hand washing hygiene will be posted at your workplace where they are likely to be seen.
Cover your nose and mouth well when coughing or sneezing; cough or sneeze into your elbow if needed, and use a tissue if you can get to one quickly and then discard the tissue. Greet others without shaking hands. A slight bow, or fist bump, depending on the situation is suitable.
o Employees are encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
It is amazing how protective frequent hand washing is for preventing contagious illnesses. To remember how long you should wash your hands, sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice while doing so. Use plenty of soap and dry your hands well.
· Workplace behaviors
o Practice social distancing when appropriate (i.e stand/sit six feet away, no hugs, kisses, close contact, etc.)
o Avoid touching your face and especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
· Entrance into work locations
o Notices will be posted at the entrances to work locations indicating restrictions for entry. Please be aware that under circumstances in which you are expecting a visitor and he/she is not able to come into the UHP office because of the restrictions, they will be asked to contact you to make alternate arrangements.