7 Things California Health Care Workers' Can Do Today to Stay Safe Amid the Coronavirus and Covid-19
The Coronavirus and Covid-19 is Here to Stay
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus and Covid infections are going to be with us for some time and as a health care worker you are on the front lines of the virus. Whether you are an essential worker at a long-term care facility, medical office, emergency clinic or hospital facility, knowing how to stay safe for you and your family is essential.
We want our clients and our community to stay safe. Ruben Amezquita, D.C., J.D., QME our Medical Director has compiled a list of 7 things you can do starting today to stay safe.
Even if your place of work is not taking the pre-cautions, you should. And you should bring any ideas you have to make the workplace safer to management’s attention.
- Listen to Your Body
Anxiety and stress are drains on the physical and emotional well-being of health care workers. If you are feeling sick or believe that you might be falling ill, then let your supervisor know immediately so they can decide whether you should remain at home.
You may then be tested to show whether you have contracted the virus.
Each health care provider will have their own policies regarding sick or potentially sick workers. You should know the policies of your workplace. If you don’t believe they are good enough, speak up!
You may want to consider an temperature monitor at home to check your temperature on a regular basis.
Everyone should be self-monitoring for symptoms of Covid-19. You can find a comprehensive list of symptoms on the CDC's website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html)
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wearing a mask is the bare minimum recommended by the CDC for any interaction in a public space, including work. An abundance of caution is ideal when working with vulnerable populations. Practicing workplace safety is the front line of protection for coworkers and patients. For health care workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends wearing the following while on a worksite, whether that is in a patient's home or a health care facility.
- Gloves, Gown, Face shield or goggles, Face mask, N95 filtering facepiece (or other respirators if N95s are not available) during medical exams
- Additional precautions as needed for specific jobs
When putting on or taking off any PPE, make sure that you are using the correct technique to reduce the risk of exposure. If you need a refresher, the CDC has step-by-step instructions here. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/using-ppe.html)
- Utilize Virtual Meetings When Possible
Social distancing is not going to go away anytime soon. For larger healthcare providers, it might be safer to have department meetings virtually rather than in one physical location. There are plenty of services and apps that allow for this, including Zoom, Google Hangout, and Skype. There are also HIPAA compliant apps that give a higher measure of security to shared content and greater anonymity between group participants.
If your health care facility isn’t using virtual meetings where they could, suggest them.
- Give Each Other Space
Try to keep six feet of distance between yourself and coworkers or patients whenever possible. It might be necessary for workplace setting or shift adjustments to be made in order to accommodate this form of social distancing. Staggering shifts is one way that many employers are working to create greater distancing in workplaces with very little physical space to spare. This allows for the least amount of interaction between coworkers.
- Practice Proper Hygiene
Wash your hands whenever you touch your face, wear a mask in case of sneezes or coughing, and keep hand sanitizer within reach when interacting with the public. OSHA recommends the following be made available in all health care workplaces.
- Tissues, No-touch trash can, Hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol content, Disinfectants and disposable towels for routinely cleaning surfaces, Regular hand washing
- Be Aware of Asymptomatic Carriers
Even if someone is showing zero symptoms of Covid-19, they may still be carrying the virus. This includes friends, roommates, and family members. It is essential to keep this in mind to stop yourself from becoming lax about proper hygiene and distancing practices in all spaces, including your home. Otherwise, you could either bring Covid-19 home with you and be asymptomatic yourself or accidentally catch it from someone in your home and spread the virus in your place of work. Stay up to date on any new symptoms or changes to the protocol provided by officials.
Wellness and a strong immunity go together. Taking breaks, meditation, eating well are ways to help your immune system stay strong. Meditation has been shown to boost immunity. Remember, even in these extreme times of stress to eat well, take breaks, meditate and exercise. These have all been shown to boost immunity.
Ruben Amezquita is the Medical Director and Community Relations Director of Pacific Workers’, The Lawyers for Injured Workers. He is a licensed Chiropractor, holds a Juris Doctorate and is a licensed Qualified Medical Examiner (QME) in California Workers’ Compensation.
Pacific Workers', The Lawyers for Injured Workers is Northern California's Premier Workers' Compensation Applicant firm. We represent First Responders, Health Care Workers, Construction Workers, Retail Workers, Warehouse Workers, Delivery Drivers and the other hard-working people that keep our community moving in their Fight for Justice against the Insurance Companies.
With over 200+ Five Star Reviews, an incredible staff of caring, well-trained caring, advanced technology for superior client communication, a track record of an over 96% win rate and giving back to our community through the Pacific Workers' Foundation, it is easy to see why Pacific Workers' is the go-to law firm for all injured workers in Northern California.
If you or a loved one needs our help or just has a question, give us a call. We are here to serve!