March Safety Focus: Effective practices to assist in preventing the spread of coronavirus03/12/2020
This month our safety focus is on effective practices meant to assist in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
#1 – Social Distancing. This is the practice of maintaining a distance between you and other people. The World Health Organization recommends a distance of at least 3’ be maintained from anyone coughing or sneezing, to prevent breathing in droplets that are sprayed into the air during these actions. The CDC recommends social distancing of 6’ with asymptomatic individuals when risk assessment is classified as medium (Table 2 from here). While buildings and operations including research are currently open on campus, it is also recommended by the CDC that actions be taken to minimize risk to anyone still working in university labs. For now, we are asking individuals to observe social distancing practices. Also to be clear, the WHO’s guidance of 3’ is a recommendation to asymptomatic individuals who observe someone else coughing. If you are sick yourself, STAY HOME. The WHO is not suggesting it is okay for sick people to come to public places as long as they are 3’ away from everyone.
#2 – Hand Washing. Frequent hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub, for a period of at least 20 seconds, kills viruses on your hands. Try timing yourself by counting the next time you go to wash your hands in the restroom – it’s likely you aren’t washing long enough. Even if you are washing long enough, wash your hands more frequently throughout the day, particularly after performing work in common areas. PFOC is increasing the number of surface disinfections it performs, but washing your hands is something you can actively do to help. Avoid touching your face.
The CDC has free handwashing posters available for print.
Dr. Jason Randall
Director of Operations