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What Families and Caregivers Should Know About Coronavirus

POSTED BY
Care@Work Team on February 28, 2020 08:40 PM

Click here for Backup Care specific information.

The health and safety of families and caregivers is our top priority. We are always taking precautions to prevent the spread of infectious viruses like the flu, but COVID-19 presents unique challenges.  

We’ve assembled the following frequently asked questions to help you best protect yourself and your loved ones.

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is short for “coronavirus disease 2019.” According to the CDC, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common to many species of animals, such as camels, cattle, cats and bats. In rare cases, these viruses can jump to and spread among humans, such as with MERS and SARS. The current coronavirus was first detected in 2019 in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China. It has since been detected in travelers and confirmed in a person without known exposure to the region or other known patients.

HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is passed through coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands or touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth without washing hands.  In short, it’s passed along like a cold or flu.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Like influenza, COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms from none at all to severe breathing difficulty. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, body aches and fatigue. Cases can range from mild to severe, where shortness of breath may indicate a more serious form of the illness. The CDC believes these symptoms may present in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure.

WHAT’S THE RISK?

For many people, COVID-19 presents few symptoms, but in some it can be fatal. For an update on the situation, please visit the CDC website.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE?

According to the CDC, the best ways to prevent contracting coronavirus are, quite simply, to avoid coming into close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is considered more than a few minutes within 6 feet of a sick person or direct contact like kissing or sharing utensils. In practice, that means using everyday best-practices for disease prevention. Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  • Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19-related virus.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.  Then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public settings to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others in case you may be infected but do not have symptoms.

Federal, state and local governments have adopted guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Here is the latest state-by-state guidelines. 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I’VE BEEN EXPOSED TO CORONAVIRUS?

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Call your doctor. Give your doctor advanced notice if you think you might have the coronavirus before you visit so that they can take precautions to limit the risk of exposure to other people.
  • Restrict activities except for getting medical care. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t spend time in public areas or use public transportation.  Don’t invite non-immediate family members into your home.
  • As much as possible, stay away from people even in your own home, including using a separate bathroom. Try and avoid contact with pets or other animals, as well.
  • Wear a facemask and cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw used tissues or face masks into lined trash cans. Wash hands vigorously and often for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing 60-95% alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, monitor your symptoms, and clean surfaces daily.

WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY KIDS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

Experts recommend that parents ease children’s concerns about the coronavirus by having candid conversations while also trying to maintain a sense of calm. Here are some tips:

  • If your child has heard about the virus, talk to them at an age-appropriate level about the coronavirus and the risks so they get accurate information from you.
  • Emphasize good hygiene – remind them to wash their hands often, avoid touching their face and sneeze into their elbows.
  • Tell them that doctors, scientists and other professionals are “working very hard” to address the issue and keep us safe.

The Care.com team has assembled a library of COVID-19 resources for families and caregivers, including articles about fun ways to keep kids social (at a distance), how other parents are navigating child care, and questions to ask child care providers during the pandemic. 

Our Equal Parts podcast also has new episodes with expert interviews covering parenting during the pandemic, how to stay in sync with your partner, and even homeschooling lessons for parents. 

BACKUP CARE GUIDELINES


IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CORONAVIRUS, IS SHOWING SYMPTOMS, AND/OR IS IN QUARANTINE FOR CORONAVIRUS, CAN CARE.COM PROVIDE BACKUP CARE?

If anyone in your household may have been exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus) or is experiencing symptoms, we require a 14-day wait period since last possible exposure before requesting Child or Adult Backup Care. When you request Backup Care, you will need to confirm that no member of your household has the virus or is within this precautionary wait period. And, we need to be notified if there are any health changes in your household between the time you request care and the day the care is taking place.

In the case of actual infection, per CDC guidelines, we will require you to confirm that you have been both symptom-free for 7 days and fever-free (without any fever-reducing medications) for 3 days.

CAN I USE BACKUP CARE FOR MY CHILD IF THEY HAVE A FEVER?

To avoid the spread of contagious disease, we cannot provide Backup Care to any person who has a fever above 100 degrees.

CAN I REQUEST A PREVIOUS OR CONSISTENT CAREGIVER TO MINIMIZE MY FAMILY'S EXPOSURE TO NEW PEOPLE?

Our Backup Care service at Care.com is designed to provide quality care from our supply of carefully vetted and experienced Backup Caregivers when families need it the most. While previous caregivers are taken into consideration when arranging Backup Child Care, this service is not meant to be a consistent, long-term solution for child care. And, while creating quarantine “pods” or “bubbles” is one of the safety practices recommended by many experts, there’s simply no way for a Backup Caregiver to quarantine with your family. However, every one of our caregivers are required to take the safety precautions listed below.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN REGARDING THE HEALTH OF YOUR CAREGIVERS OR THE PROTOCOLS WITHIN THE CHILD CARE CENTERS IN YOUR BACKUP CARE NETWORK?

As it relates to COVID-19, we are requiring our care providers to adhere to the CDC-recommended best practices described here. This includes:

  • Taking their temperature before they leave to go to any job to confirm they are fever-free (100 degrees or above) and letting Care.com know if they are not feeling well;
  • Using preventive hygiene and washing their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds, when they arrive at a job and throughout the day;
  • Wearing a face covering for the duration of a Backup Care job.
  • The caregiver will reach out to the family in advance of when the care takes place to let the family know that they will be arriving wearing a face covering – and throughout the duration of care – and ensure that there has been no change in the household’s health status since they booked the care.
  • We ask that families do their part in maintaining a safe environment by adhering to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines and wearing masks when possible.

The health and safety of our care providers and the families we care for is our top priority. Therefore, we screen both the caregivers as well as the families requesting Backup Care, as described above. As always, we encourage our care providers to get annual flu shots and to inform us if they are ill or have symptoms that would prevent them from being able to safely provide care.

Our child care center partners enforce a policy in which children and teachers stay home when sick to avoid spreading illness to others.