Agency Zone – Coronavirus Update
March 12, 2020
As you know, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rapidly evolving story, so we wanted to take a moment to share with you relevant information that we have received and practical preventive measures we encourage you to continue to implement. We say “continue” as we know that many of the recommendations listed below are best practices you already adhere to, but that may need more attention and awareness during this current health emergency.
- At this time, no cases have been reported in Idaho and the risk in Idaho is low. Please monitor The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) for current information: healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/COVID19
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in California, Oregon, and Washington. The CDC’s website is an excellent resource for up-to-date information and resources: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV
So far, according to the CDC, there has been no evidence that the virus has been transmitted by food. We have included some additional links:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent this particular strain of the coronavirus, however, recommendations to prevent infection are aligned with everyday measures to avoid the spread of respiratory diseases. These actions include:
- Practice good hand washing and hand hygiene. Wash your hands well and often, for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Follow with a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
- Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Perform hand hygiene afterward if you must touch your face.
- Make sure you have your flu vaccine. This will help maintain your personal health, protect your immune system, and reduce stress on the medical system.
- Risk of virus transmission via food in the supply chain is very low – it is more of a person-to-person risk.
- Frequent reminders for all volunteers and visitors of proper hygiene protocol while in your facilities is important.
- Employee health and hygiene is critical in controlling the spread of the virus. Do not go to work ill. Staying home when you are sick will reduce the risk of any illness to yourself and your co-workers.
- A medical face mask is not required if people are well and NOT exhibiting symptoms. There is no evidence that wearing a mask – of any type – protects non-sick persons.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Have best practices and proper equipment and chemicals in place for cleaning up an issue with bodily fluids in your establishment (e.g. vomit, blood, urine).
- Ensure effective sanitation programs and perform routine environmental cleaning of your facility. Use cleaning agents that effectively kill bacteria and viruses. No additional disinfection beyond what is required for food safety is recommended at this time.
Our normal best practices for health and safety are effective. We simply need to be more mindful and vigilant in applying them, especially during the cold and flu season. If you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, please reference the websites above.
Let’s all stay healthy!
- Boise Branch – Heath Ribordy 208-336-9643
- Pocatello Branch – Kia Shaw 208-233-8811
- Lewiston Branch – Tanya Garner 208-746-2288
Winter Weather Plan
During the winter months we constantly monitor weather and road conditions starting early in the morning. If weather conditions necessitate a change in schedule or in a worst-case scenario a cancellation the Agency Relations team will call and email the affected sites. With safety as a first priority, we will work to stay on schedule and look forward to partnering with you over these holiday months.
Thank you for your partnership and your continued commitment to serving Idahoans in need.