Updated March 16, 2020
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As of March 16, 2020 (15:10 EST), there are over 179,200 cases (7,070 deaths) worldwide in 161 countries.
In the United States, there are 4,093 confirmed (69 deaths) COVID-19 cases. The following 49 states are reporting cases: New York (950), Washington (676), California (491), Massachusetts (164), Colorado (136), Florida (138), Louisiana (103), Georgia (99), New Jersey (98), Illinois (95), Texas (79), Pennsylvania (70), Michigan (53), Virginia (45), Tennessee (39), Maryland (39), Oregon (38), Ohio (37), Minnesota (54), Michigan (53), Virginia (45), Nevada (42), Tennessee (39), Maryland (39), Oregon (38), Ohio (37), Wisconsin (33), Nebraska (33), North Carolina (32), Utah (28), South Carolina (28), Connecticut (26), Indiana (24), Alabama (23), Iowa (22), Arkansas (220, Rhode Island (21), Kentucky (21), Arizona (18), District of Columbia (17), New Mexico (17), New Hampshire (13), Maine (12), Oklahoma (10), Mississippi (10), Kansas (9), South Dakota (9), Vermont (8), Hawaii (7), Delaware( 7), Missouri (6), Montana (6), Idaho (5), Puerto Rico (5), Wyoming (3), Guam (3), North Dakota (1), Alaska (1), Virginia Islands (1).
Current Confirmed Cases (countries with over 100 cases):
South Korea: 8,236
United States: 4,138
United Kingdom: 1,551
Saudi Arabia: 118
San Marino: 109
The CDC “recommends that for the next 8 weeks”, all in-person events or gatherings of 50 or more people should be canceled or postponed. “Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States” due to travelers possibly carrying and introducing the virus and furthering community transmission.
Viruses and their respective diseases often have different names. The World Health Organization has provided proper nomenclature. The virus that is responsible for the current outbreak is SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). The name of the disease that it causes is COVID-19 (coronavirus disease).
As the outbreak continues, have you and your business considered the following and do you have a policy in place for:
Employee Illness Management?
Actions to Take if Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19?
Visitors and Visitor Screening?
Facility Cleaning and Sanitation?
Alternative Work Arrangements and Teleworking?
Employee and Customer Communications?
Is Your Workforce Ready to Work from Home: Considerations for Setting Up to Work from Home
The city of New York is urging residents to work from home; Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are all encouraging Seattle employees to work from home, Twitter has mandated home office for its global workforce. Universities across the country and the world have canceled sports, events, and gatherings, and moved classes online. With increasing concern and precautions, whenever possible, companies are encouraging their workforce to work from are. Is your company ready? How will your IT systems securely handle the load?
Best practices of leading companies have demonstrated the importance of testing your system before having to implement remote work plans. A pre-test ensures your capabilities and lessons potential impacts. Following are some recommendations and considerations as your workforce moves remotely:
Develop a remote-work policy (if you don’t already have one). Include information on items that may be taken home, by whom, and what must remain onsite. Communicate this policy to all employees.
Determine guidelines for working hours, including if and how you will monitor/track employee work.
Develop a “How To” document on remote working with guidance, FAQs, helpdesk contacts, etc. Ensure all potential work-from-home employees, particularly those who have not previously done so, review the document before implementing it.
Bring your IT team into the loop before implementing work-from-home policies. Discuss current and needed capabilities, equipment, and test runs.
Once you are system capable, ask that those with laptops take them home each night (along with any other items and information sources needed). This will decrease disruptions and potential risk if individuals become ill and must self-isolate.
To test your system, consider implementing a day in which all potential work-from-home employees will work from home. Ask them all to log in at their regular start times and work their regular shifts. A dry-run test will enable you to assess your technological capabilities before actual implementation
Consider holding a training session with potential work-from-home employees to provide policies, test their equipment, and ensure they understand where and how to access and save needed files. This session will also enable first-hand determination of any required equipment.
To fully assess your IT personnel capabilities, employees should also send helpdesk tickets on any issues or questions.
Some employees (particularly those with children at home or slower internet connections) may choose to work in a public place. To safeguard company information, require access through a VPN, ensure all devices incorporate full disk encryption, and require login credentials.
Remind staff to never leave computers unattended in public, and to only use computers for authorized company business.
Ensure all computers have automated security software and IT personnel and/or management have visibility/access to all computers both for the company’s protection and to provide IT assistance to workers, should support be needed.
This list should provide basic considerations to build upon as you get going on the road to remote working. It is essential to consider your specific business, its needs, and your employees’ needs.
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