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Santa Clara County Public Health notice on novel coronavirus - to all businesses

Advice about employees returning from China

Post Date:02/11/2020 2:11 PM

To view the complete letter from the Santa Clara County Public Health Officer, Sara H. Cody, MD, received by the City of San Jose on Feb. 11, 2020, download here.

The letter provides an update on the novel corona virus spread in the US and in our county.  At this time, our County Public Health officials do not believe that the virus is circulating in Santa Clara County or the Bay Area. We will share updates from the officials as we receive them.

The letter also includes guidance for businesses in case they have employees who have returned from mainland China on or before February 2, 2020.  See the full letter for details, but here are the basic suggestions:

  1. If returning employees have been in Hubei province within the last 14 days, they should not be in the workplace, and should go home and call the Public Health Department (408-885-3980, M-F 8-5) so that we can provide specific guidance on monitoring themselves for symptoms for 14 days since their last day in China.
  2. Family members of travelers who visited Hubei province or mainland China within the last 14 days and are not ill do not need to quarantine at home. They should monitor for symptoms and avoid attending large gatherings.
  3. Employees who have been to other areas of mainland China (NOT including Hong Kong) within the last 14 days and came back to the U.S. on or before February 2 may wish to consider staying home for 14 days after they left mainland China, but it is not mandatory. They should continue monitoring themselves for symptoms until the end of the 14 days since they left China.
  4. Please do not require that employees provide a physician’s clearance to return to work, if they are not sick. We are receiving communications that this is happening, which is impacting the medical system and preventing doctors from seeing patients who are ill.
  5. If any employees become symptomatic within 14 days since their last day in China with fever (including chills or night sweats), cough, or shortness of breath, they should go home, call a healthcare provider and let the provider know their travel history and symptoms.

The letter also includes advice that we should all follow during the current cold and flu season, and businesses are asked to remind all employees of these practices:

  1. Encourage all employees to stay home when they are sick.
  2. Those who have a fever at work should go home immediately and stay there for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  3. Separate sick employees from others in a separate place until they can go home.
  4. Promote hand hygiene through education and availability of soap, hand sanitizers, and tissues.
  5. Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  6. Encourage proper cough etiquette—cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm. Do not use your hands.
  7. Perform routine surface cleaning, particularly for high-touch surfaces.
  8. Consider not attending or hosting large gatherings. This is where cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses are often spread.

The Public Health Department has a webpage dedicated to novel coronavirus in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese at www.sccphd.org/coronavirus . We will keep the webpage updated as much as possible. We will monitor the developing situation and inform you of any additional public health recommendations.

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