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Coronavirus FAQs from Anthem Blue Cross

Mar 04, 2020

Anthem Blue Cross provided the following announcement regarding the Coronavirus.

 

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS EVERYONE'S ASKING ABOUT THE NEW CORONAVIRUS

 

The news has been full of stories about a fast-spreading virus from China called the novel (new) coronavirus. As scientists around the globe race to learn more about the virus, your employees — especially those who travel for business — may have questions and concerns about how to protect themselves. Here’s what they need to know. 

 

What do we know so far about the illness?

The new coronavirus causes respiratory illness, which is an infection of the airways and lungs. It’s part of the same family of viruses that include the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The virus is linked to an outbreak of respiratory illness in Wuhan, China. 

 

What are the symptoms? 

The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after being infected. These symptoms, which range from mild to severe, include: 

  • Fever 
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

 

How does the virus spread?

Like many other viruses, the new coronavirus seems to spread from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze or kiss. 

 

What is the risk? 

While five cases have been confirmed in the United States, the risk here is low. In addition to screening arriving airline passengers from China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also urging health care providers to watch for patients with symptoms who have recently traveled to China. 

 

How can employees protect themselves?

The most effective way to protect yourself from the new coronavirus is frequent handwashing. Other good habits to practice include covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and cleaning frequently touched items such as phones, keyboards and doorknobs to help remove germs. 

 

Important information for travelers - is it safe to travel to China?

The CDC and the U.S. State Department are urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China. Employees with travel plans to China — whether for business, leisure or mission/humanitarian work — should consider postponing their trip. 

 

Those who must travel to China should discuss their plans with their health care provider before going, check the CDC website for the latest precautions about travel and follow local recommendations at their destination.

 

What about traveling from China to the U.S.?

All travelers arriving from China can expect to be screened. Health officials will check for fever, coughing or shortness of breath. This screening, which is being done by the CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at 20 major airports, can help protect the U.S. population from the virus. 

 

If a traveler is sick, CDC health officials will check for other symptoms and recommend next steps. 

 

If a traveler isn’t sick, CDC staff will advise them to be alert to any changes in their health for 14 days. They’ll also send travelers home with health information cards that include details about symptoms to watch for and what to do if they become sick within 14 days. 

 

Travelers who want more specifics about the screenings can check the CDC website

 

Recommendations 

While the CDC believes the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is low at this time, they encourage everyone to do their part to reduce all respiratory infections. To help, you can: 

  • Encourage your employees to visit the cdc.gov for the most up to date information.
  • Alert employees who may have been exposed to the new coronavirus to follow the CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading the illness to others.
  • Tell travelers to stay up-to-date with the CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak.
  • Encourage employees to get a flu shot to prevent the flu.
  • Remind employees to practice good health habits to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses. Employees should: 
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when sick. This includes staying home from work, school, errands and travel.
    • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious food.

 

For the most updated information on the coronavirus, visit cdc.gov.

 

For questions, please contact a member of your B&P Sales Team - 888.722.3373.

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