This article was published on March 6, 2020 and last updated on March 26, 2020.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, many maritime employers are concerned about the implications for their workforce. At AEU, we are monitoring the situation and will provide timely updates to ALMA members as required.
In the meantime, we recommend that all maritime employers encourage their workforce to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to remain safe and healthy. Below, we have outlined some of the guidance provided by the CDC as of March 26, 2020.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak first started in China, but the virus continues to spread internationally and in the United States. Coronaviruses are a group of common viruses. Most coronaviruses aren’t dangerous. These viruses cause respiratory tract infections. They usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory infections, like the common cold.
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus considered a community spread virus in some geographic areas. It is also known as the novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus may cause more severe illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Those most at risk of severe symptoms are the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions such as:
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. We do know the virus spreads from person-to-person, usually through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes and someone is near the person (within six feet). While not the main way to acquire the virus, there is a possibility to spread the virus by touching a surface with the virus and then touching your mouth or nose. The CDC is not certain of the length of time the virus lives on a surface.
The below signs and symptoms will typically appear 2 and 14 days after exposure:
If someone develops symptoms and has been in close contact with a person know to have COVID-19, they should report this to a medical professional. If emergency warning signs are present, seek medical attention immediately.
When a person who is suspected of being exposed to the virus is separated from the community to ensure they have not developed the illness, the quarantine period is 14 days from the last exposure.
This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.
The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.
To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine the risk of COVID-19 infection. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain the confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page.
If you are an ALMA member and have additional questions about AEU’s stance on COVID-19, please contact your AEU Managing Director.