Today, March 13, 2020, there are only 15 cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, none of which are in the Harrisburg area. So it may seem strange that we have taken the steps to add information about COVID-19 to our website.
The reality is our community has already been affected by COVID-19. Local businesses in certain areas are reporting a decline in business due to people’s concerns about the virus. And while most people will have mild symptoms and recover, COVID-19 can cause severe symptoms, especially in older people.
And while many try to downplay COVID-19 by saying “the flu kills more people,” we’d like to point out that preventing the spread of COVID-19 will also help prevent the spread of the flu. And regardless of your feelings on COVID-19, the CDC has advised businesses to do the following:
1. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
2. Separate sick employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (cough, shortness of breath).
3. Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees.
4. Perform routine environmental cleaning.
5. Advise employees before traveling to take important steps.
6. Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
The Department of Health encourages businesses to increase education on preventing illnesses such as the cold, flu and also the coronavirus:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, do not use your hands!
• Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
• Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
We have decided to add two things to our website. First is a list of references that either provide overall guidelines or ones that are specifically geared toward the Harrisburg area.
We have added a page that highlights what local businesses are doing. If you’d like to submit information about your business, please go to this page.