Carbon Safety Solutions is still operating, and able to support those organizations that are able and/or required to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please contact us to see how we can help your organization identify, assess and manage Covid-19 related risk in your workplace.

COVID-19 Impacts – Consider The Risk

12th March 2020

COVID-19, or the Coronavirus as many also know it, is ramping  up in it’s significance here in BC, Canada, and the rest of the world.  The World Health Organization has deemed it a pandemic, meaning it’s worldwide.  Canada has earmarked 1 billion dollars to address the impacts it will have.

As of today (Thursday March 12) there are now 19 confirmed cases in BC, including one in Victoria on Vancouver Island.  By the end of the day, based on trajectories for the spread of pathogens there will be more.   

This will significantly impact the health of people, businesses, and disrupt communities in BC.  The unknown is to what extent.

An event I was planning on attending in Victoria BC has just been cancelled this morning as a precaution, my solicitor has cancelled his family trip to Disneyland, the NBA (edit the NHL has also cancelled since this was written this morning, and Ontario appears to have extended the spring break for schools) has cancelled it’s season till further notice, and cities are in lockdown around the world.

This is real.

COVID-19 Information

Below is a summary of COVID-19Corona Virus information taken from the articles referenced.  Note that this is all new information, and should be considered along with new reports, and data, as well as additional resources such as CDC, WHO, and local health authorities’ information:

  • It can take 2 weeks to manifest symptoms
  • One study showed it can exist for 3 hours in the air
  • It is theorized to be able to survive on surfaces potentially up to 9 days
  • For every person exhibiting symptoms there are many more infected but not showing symptoms
  • There are believed to be higher risks for the elderly, and those that have chronic underlying conditions, however we are all at risk (*edit I had noted children were at higher risk, this is not clear or proven)
  • It moves quickly and there may be as many as 27 times more cases than those identified
  • In Wuhan China cases went from 100 new cases to 400 in 2 days
  • Countries that are prepared and have minimized exposure may have fatality rates of less than 1%
  • Countries not prepared may have a fatality rate of 3-5%
  • It may be weeks, or months until this is addressed

Precautions

The following are recommended to help reduce the spread of the virus and are widely recognized as best practices effective in reducing exposure:

  • Businesses should encourage work from home were possible
  • If holidays can be taken over the next few weeks that can allow more employees to stay home
  • Spring break is coming, reconsider travel over this point in time
  • Avoid public transport, planes, trains, buses, ferries
  • Social distancing is one of the most highly recommended precautions, this means limiting the number of social interactions you have
  • Reduce frequency of visits to public places, and the duration
  • Avoid places with high numbers of people
  • Avoid touching the mouth, nose, or eyes
  • Soap and water are one of the most effective means to reduce risk, and frequent hand washing is encouraged
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces with disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach)
  • These disinfectants can “efficiently” inactivate coronaviruses within a minute
  • If you have symptoms that include coughing, sneezing isolate yourself

Considerations

  • Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, consider the possibility of home quarantines, and have plans for personal and business health
  • For organizations, if keeping employees home is challenging from a prevention perspective, consider the risks of half your workforce being off with illness
  • Consider what essential activities and tasks are required within the business, and make a plan in case this situation does worsen
  • Consider if you were infected:
    • How many people were you in contact with directly today?
    • How many public surfaces did you touch and potentially contaminate?
  • Who are you responsible for, and how likely are they to be exposed?
  • Are there confirmed cases within your community?
  • If March Break is coming, can you use it to have a staycation and use holidays to wait out the next week or two?
  • Do you need to enter public spaces?

Conclusion

  • There are confirmed cases in British Columbia
  • There will be more cases over the next few days and weeks
  • There is real risk to human health in British Columbia
  • Good hygiene and social distancing can reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Consider the precautions identified in the various sources of this post
  • This has the potential to be significant health crisis with potentially fatal consequences
  • Consider the risk, who could be infected, and who could be seriously at risk
  • If you’re not concerned at this point, read some of the information from reputable sources:

Further Reading


Posted in: Safety Blog

Tags: , , ,