Situation Update: Coronavirus and What You Need to Know

Situation Update:  World Health Organization has declared a global public health emergency for the novel (WuHan) cornoavirus. There are currently over 8,100 cases with 170 people confirmed dead. There are more than 100 confirmed cases in 20 places outside of China.

What Has Changed Today: It has been confirmed the virus was transferred from person to person in the United States today after someone returned from visiting China. There is currently no vaccine.

How serous is this as a US resident? There have been 6 cases of outbreak in the US. The person to person spread of the virus occurs when people are in close contact for a number of days with someone who carries the virus.

What Are Our Responsibilities to Our Business/Organization? This outbreak will continue, so as you think about workplace over the next several days here are some considerations for you or your leadership team.

  1. Upcoming Travel: Trips are being cancelled (some) from the US to China. For other travel updates you can check the local airport you are flying from for domestic travel, and the State Department especially for international travel. If you are traveling in the coming days possibly expect longer than usual lines and travel wait times.
  2. Local Alerts: Check alerts from your local public health department.
  3. Business Operations: Think about what you would do if a higher than normal percentage of your staff called in sick. How could this impact your business operations? What if an employee’s family member is impacted? If a person on your team gets sick from the Wuhan virus, who is the back up for their role, especially if it is supporting a critical function or business critical process for the organization. Think about how this will impact the continuity of your business and current delivery expectations for internal and external stakeholders. In more serious cases, think about what would happen if your entire building or town was quarantined.
  4. Internal Company Communications: What is your communication plan internally? Some organizations in the wake of a major snowstorm, earthquake, or hurricane will make the decision to communicate via phone or text in deciding to close the office for the safety of the employees and clients. It just simply may be safer for employees not travel into work.  Who is involved with this decision? What leader has the authority to makes these decisions?
  5. Working from Home Policy: What is the determining factor to have people work from home. What would determine that and for how long would someone need to stay home?
  6. Go Bag: If your office has Go Bags this could be a good time to update them. Though it may not directly relate to a virus outbreak, it is meant for several emergencies and can be beneficial, especially if your bag happens to have Personal Protective Equipment like facemasks.
  7. Top Down Approach: When deciding what action to take for any Crisis Plan this should not be a unilateral approach. It does need to be consistent with existing labor laws and regulations. Partner with your HR partners, security/operations partner and legal counsel if necessary.
  8. Resource and Fact Sheet for the Virus: Here is an information resource for the leadership team on the virus (symptoms, how individuals can protect themselves).
  9. What We Can Expect: Global coordination by governments to stop the spread of the virusAs necessary, federal, state and local governments have and/or will update travel advisories and guidelines or recommendations for jurisdictions in the United States impacted by the Wuhan Virus.There will be stringent and required monitoring of this outbreak by government officials which could impact small and large businesses alike.

 

If you have additional questions, please let us know: If you have a Crisis Management Plan with us and have specific questions or updates that require implementation, please let us know. If you don’t have a Crisis Management Plan or Business Continuity Plan, but would like to discuss implementing one, please feel free to contact Jessica directly at Jessica@purepoint-international.