COVID-19, Returning to the Workplace – Oregon

Oregon General Guidance for Employers on Covid-19:

Train all employees in safety requirements and expectations while at worksites.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of the coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause mild to severe illness. This new coronavirus has spread in people only since December 2019. Health experts are learning more and more about this new coronavirus and the illnesses it causes. At present there is no treatment for or vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. The most common symptoms include:

How does coronavirus spread?

The virus is spread mainly from personto-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby – within about 6 feet. COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. It is also possible to get infected after touching an object that has the virus on it

How severe is COVID-19?

Health experts are learning more and more about who becomes sick and the range of illness from coronavirus. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths from COVID-19 in Oregon have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions. From the beginning of the pandemic, most children with the novel coronavirus had very mild symptoms. More recently, a new illness in children has been reported that causes severe inflammation throughout the body. The children with this illness are very sick and require hospitalization.

Who is at risk for getting the coronavirus?

Anyone who comes into contact with the virus can become infected and may or may not show symptoms – coronaviruses spread easily to adults and children. No group of people is more likely to get or spread the virus. However, we continue to learn about groups at higher risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 including: people with chronic health conditions, people living in group care settings, health care and other essential workers.

How can I protect myself and others?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Steps you can take include:

Safety practices for exposure in the workplace

Social Distancing Guidelines


Proper respiratory etiquette from the CDC

Covering coughs and sneezes and keeping hands clean can help prevent the spread of serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and COVID-19. Germs can be easily spread by:

Covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands are especially important for infection control measures in healthcare settings, such as emergency departments, doctor’s offices, and clinics.

To help stop the spread of germs:

Remember to immediately wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent yourself and your loved ones from getting sick, especially at key times when you are likely to get and spread germs.

For information about preventing the spread of COVID-19, see CDC’s COVID-19: Prevent Getting Sick web page.

To help prevent the spread of respiratory disease, you can also avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are ill, you should try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread your germs. Distancing includes staying home from work or school when possible.