With the ongoing spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) nationwide, we recommend health care providers and other organizations prepare themselves in the face of this ongoing public health crisis. We recommend the following first steps be taken immediately.
- Identify and empower a leadership team within your organization to lead the COVID-19 response. This team should have the appropriate authority to adjust policy, direct organizational resources, and respond to COVID-19 issues.
- Prepare FAQs; these should include common questions and answers to provide your employees with a uniform response to COVID-19 related questions. These FAQs should be posted online, distributed to employees, and or posted publicly as appropriate.
- Review employment documents, travel, sick time, and family leave policies. Best practices would make employees comfortable reporting their symptoms and encourage them to stay home if they or someone in their household is symptomatic. Additionally, non-essential business travel to certain regions should be restricted.
- Remind employees of confidentiality requirements. If your organization handles protected health information (“PHI”), remind employees that inappropriate viewing or sharing of individuals’ PHI will result in disciplinary action.
- Engage in active mitigation, remind employees to follow common virus safety practices (hand washing, etc.) and to remember the big picture, if an employee suspects that they or someone they have met may be symptomatic, they should feel comfortable informing your organization’s COVID-19 response leadership.
Stay Informed: COVID-19 will remain an ongoing issue for the foreseeable future and the situation is dynamic. Stay informed by reviewing updates to guidelines put out by some of the following organizations:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Connecticut Department of Public Health: https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Public-Health-Preparedness/Main-Page/2019-Novel-Coronavirus
- National Association of County and City Health Officials Directory of Local Health Departments: https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory?searchType=standard&lhd-state=CT#card-filter
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.