With COVID-19 (the coronavirus) continuing to spread, unions are being vigilant about taking every step possible to protect members and the communities they serve. Timely and accurate information is essential at moments like these. As a result, AFSCME, has put together a new online resource webpage where members and families can access all materials in one centralized place. It includes links to state and local health departments, essential tips about symptoms and prevention, industry-by-industry guidance and much more.
Right now, the biggest threat is misinformation, panic and stigma. Make sure you educate yourself, be prepared and stay home if you feel sick. Visit AFSCME's informational resource website on coronavirus-COVID 19 at AFSCME.org/covid-19.
Here in Ohio, the Dept of Administrative Services (DAS) has reached out to OCSEA regarding precautions the state is taking regarding the coronavirus. While there are no confirmed cases in Ohio at this time and the risk is currently low, the state says it is taking some additional precautions to keep employees and the public safe. For example, in places like common areas in state buildings and institutions, additional cleanings are being done and hand sanitizer stations are being added in lobbies and hallway.
An email sent from DAS told employees to wash their hands often and use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available, and to avoid touching one’s face. The email also encouraged supervisors to be flexible about approving leave within operational need (of course).
The use of the union-negotiated telemedicine option also can be used to avoid spreading diseases to doctor’s offices and beyond. Go HERE for more information about that option.
AFSCME called on Congress to quickly increase funding and give local and state governments the resources to combat COVID-19 and protect employees and the public health. As a result, Congress passed a bill for $8.3 billion on March 3.
Public health care professionals in particular should consider reaching out to the CDC for information on how to stay prepared for the coronavirus outbreak. Health care workers in particular, but all public health care employees can get information HERE.
For Correctional employees, the American Correctional Association has rescheduled a webinar about the virus and its potential impact in corrections for March 10. Go HERE for more information on the webinar. We will continue to monitor their website for updated information.