Interesting times we are in for sure. And while cancellations of sporting events and other “non-essential” gatherings or travel are happening, for industry, the show must go on. The impact of no March Madness on TV is disappointing to many, but pales in comparison to if we didn’t have toilet paper, food, or gasoline to name a few. All employers are considering and/or instituting some form of COVID-19 precautions – and rightfully so. For those employers with onsite medical providers (ATCs, PT/OTs, Nursing, or Physicians), they have a significant advantage in their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, Influenza, or any communicable disease. Why such an advantage? Because while COVID-19 is new, the threat of communicable and infectious disease is not. That threat is present every day and in many different forms such as Influenza, pneumonia, measles, impetigo, community-acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus infection (MRSA), and herpes gladiatorum (a form of herpes virus that causes lesions on the head, neck, and shoulders), as well as bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis and AIDS/HIV. These onsite providers also act as employers’ critical “medical eyes” that help with early detection of those who may be symptomatic and need additional care to prevent the spread of disease to the larger group. When considering the potential exposure risk at large manufacturing plants or warehouses where hundreds or thousands of people congregate day in and day out and work shoulder to shoulder with one another for hours at a time, the impact of the expertise of these professionals has always been critical; and in light of COVID-19, it is highlighted even more. Embedded into the training of all these professionals are universal precautions that help us prevent the spread of all of these diseases. They don’t just think of this when the new cycle is full of COVID-19 – they are applying these precautions ALL the time. Day in, day out. And the good news is that the steps to preventing the spread of the highly publicized COVID-19 are pretty simple and identical to the universal precautions that these professionals have been instituting within the employer site all along. And they do all this while preventing other injuries or illness such as sprains and strains – thus truly keeping the workforce and their families safe and healthy. Surely, this COVID-19 event will pass but we can expect it to leave a lasting message on the critical role that employers and their medical partners have in keeping our populations safe and well.
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