The unique nature of our job duties and the environment where we perform those duties places APFA members at greater risk for COVID 19 exposure.
Implementation of CDC recommended guidelines is necessary if we are to prevent further harm and spread of this highly contagious virus. We have a shared duty to protect our team members and customers. I request an immediate meeting to coordinate a published protocol to protect our workgroups and mitigate further spread of the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. As of the evening of March 23, the total number of public health laboratories that have completed verification and are offering testing has expanded to 91 facilities nationwide.
Due to the limited tests available, doctors and testing sites are only offering testing to those who:
— Have been hospitalized and are showing signs or symptoms compatible with COVID-19
— Are highly symptomatic and may be older adults or individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).
— Any persons who may be showing symptoms and is suspected to have come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient
— Any persons who may be showing symptoms and has traveled from the affected geographic areas within 14 days
*Testing is subject to a Dr/Facilities discretion
How to Get Tested
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested you have a few options:
— Call 2-1-1 and follow the prompts; this will connect you to United Way’s Covid-19 Crisis Response Hotline to see if there is local testing available in your area.
— Try calling your state or local health department
— Here is a directory of Local Health Department Websites by state: https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory?searchType=standard&lhd-search=&lhd-state=TX&page=2
— Or contact your medical provider to see if testing is available
Recommended Strategies for Employers to Use Now
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
- Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies. This is of high importance with contract catering and cleaning personnel.
- Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
How COVID-19 Spreads
As a global carrier, we have a duty to our team members and customers to prevent exposure to and further spread of COVID 19. While there are more questions than answers at this moment, it is important that we come to common ground understanding of this virus and how it spreads. We can prevent American Airlines from being a vector, but we must work together to establish a protocol now.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID 19 spreads:
1. Person-to-person spread.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
2. Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
Current situation in U.S.
- Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been detected in the U.S.
- Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 was first reported among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan.
- During the week of February 23, CDC reported community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in California (in two places), Oregon and Washington. Community spread in Washington resulted in the first death in the United States from COVID-19, as well as the first reported case of COVID-19 in a health care worker, and the first potential outbreak in a long-term care facility.
COVID-19 Situation Dashboard
COVID-19 Live Data Updates
CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
CDC Coronavirus Resources for Households
Aircraft Guidance for Cabin Crews
How to Wash Your Hands
Map and Charts of Outbreak
How close are we to a vaccine? | BBC - 3.05.20
Governmental Response | JetNet - 3.04.20
Guidance for Air Crew | CDC - 3.04.20
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary | CDC - 3.03.20
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 3.03.20
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 3.01.20
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 2.27.20
WHO Coronavirus EPI-WIN Update - 2.25.20
WHO Coronavirus EPI-WIN Update - 2.21.20
WHO Coronavirus Situation Report - 2.20.20
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 2.19.20