By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP, Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health
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If you are in the workplace or returning to the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few important safety precautions you and your employer should take to keep everyone safe and healthy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) offers a series of safety practices to keep in mind for employees and employers during the pandemic. It is important to remember that co-workers may not be your “stable group” and could potentially bring disease into the workplace. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you wear your mask at all times while at work.
Here are some important practices employees can use to help prevent the spread and contraction of the coronavirus:
- Wear a mask at work at all times
- Regularly wash your hands properly
- Clean and disinfect your workspace daily
- Wear a mask when commuting/ride sharing
- Do not share food or eating utensils
- Remain six feet apart from others as much as possible
- Don’t come to work if you don’t feel well
If you are an employer, there are a series of actions you can take to help keep your employees, customers and vendors from getting and spreading the virus:
- Encourage and provide for frequent hand washing or disinfection with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Encourage respiratory hygiene such as covering coughs
- Provide for employees to physical distance of at least six feet
- Insist on mask wearing-provide masks to employees
- Provide regular environmental cleaning and disinfection
- Limit unnecessary travel
- Provide clear policies and messages, training, and education for staff and managers to increase awareness of COVID-19
- Requiring workers who are unwell or who develop symptoms to stay at home, self-isolate and contact a medical professional or the local COVID-19 information line for advice on testing and referral.
Remember that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The virus spreads from person-to-person and between people who are in close contact with one another. It can be contracted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Droplets are expelled through coughing, sneezing, laughing, singing and just speaking. Droplets land in mouth, nose or eyes and thus can infect others. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The virus can also be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Please be safe and practice good hygiene!
Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP is a graduate of Justus-Liebig-University Medical School Giessen, Germany. He completed Residency training in Munich, Germany and Tucson, AZ and is board certified in Family Practice (Germany) and Internal Medicine (USA). Dr. Ansorg is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and is on the Medical Staff at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. He has many years of experience in different clinical settings including 10 years of Private Practice and Urgent Care in Munich, Germany as well as 11 years of Internal Medicine/Geriatrics in Arizona as well as 4 years at the Santa Barbara County Health Care Center. Dr. Ansorg has served as Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County since April 2019