What you want to know if you’re going back to work in this pandemic

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Ready to go back to the office after being home in this pandemic? If not, talk to your employer before returning to your desk.

“Can you do sort of a blended hybrid schedule? At least at the initial opening phase where you potentially work from home sometimes and go face to face in the office other times,” says infectious disease specialist Dr. Jaimie Meyer with Yale Medicine, inundated with back to work questions.

She also recommends asking what’s in place to keep you safe.

“For example, both CDC and OSHA have released very specific guidelines on how to clean and disinfect work places, promote social distancing. These are things you want to know. Should you be bringing your own personal protective equipment? Will they be requiring testing before returning to work?”

What about wearing a mask?

Dr. Meyer says, “Facial coverings are recommended anytime you have to be within 6 feet of another person because we know this virus is still primarily spread person to person. And so that will be recommended as well within the workplace.”

What should you avoid touching?

“Primarily disease is spread person to person,” says Dr. Meyer. “But we also know that surfaces can become contaminated with the virus. So you really want to try to avoid high touch areas like door knobs, door handles, counter tops, that printer and hopefully you won’t be seeing coffeepots and water coolers in the office place anymore.”

The number one thing you should do at your workplace?

She quickly responds, “Don’t touch your face. I know that’s a really hard thing for people to avoid. But basically, this virus still needs a port of entry to get into your upper respiratory tract and it comes from our contaminated hands, touching our faces.”

And this reminder — if you’re wearing protective gloves, Dr. Meyer says it’s not a substitute for good hand hygiene.

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