An Update on Coronavirus

Updated March 18, 2020

Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus has spread into the United States. And it is now spreading quickly in our area.

It’s understandable that the public is nervous. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC)—a federal government agency responsible for public health—urges that the immediate health risk is low “for most of the American public.” Our Union is following the CDC’s lead, along with advice from the New York Department of Health, to keep members and their families safe.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Public transportation is still safe. You’re as safe taking the subway, ferry, or bus now as during a normal flu season. However, it’s always a good idea to use hand sanitizer after holding onto the rail!

Practicing good hygiene is still effective. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, sneezing or coughing, or touching your face is always a good idea. If you don’t have a tissue handy, sneeze or cough into your shirt sleeve. Stay home if you’re sick. The tried and true methods of staying healthy help fight coronavirus, too.

Be calm. This is the beginning of allergy season, and flu season isn’t over yet. It’s very unlikely the person who sneezed near you yesterday has COVID-19. So, instead of giving the sneezer a glare, say “Bless You!” A healthy lifestyle remains the first, and best, line of defense against coronavirus.

Go to the doctor if you have symptoms. Coronavirus symptoms appear between two and 14 days after infection. If you have a fever or cough, or feel short of breath, visit your doctor. The cost for a doctor’s office visit is the same as always.

Almost everyone’s risk is low. Higher-risk populations include healthcare workers, flight attendants, and those who have recently traveled internationally, especially to China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran.

The coronavirus situation is still developing. Anthem BlueCross BlueShield is staying on top of the latest updates. They also have a plan in place in case coronavirus spreads further. Their resources can be found here. The Fund also sent a copy of Anthem's coronavirus resources by mail.

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