Wednesday, March 11, 2020
This special message is part of Montana Conservation Corps’ ongoing effort to provide timely information about the emerging concerns related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This is a novel virus that may cause acute respiratory illness. After its initial detection in China, there has been a recent increase in the number of cases in the United States.
As of the time of this safety memo, there has not yet been a reported case in Montana and the immediate health risk for our state remains low. However, we should expect that the virus will spread to Montana in the coming days or weeks.
INCIDENT RESPONSE PLANNING
Out of an abundance of caution and taking guidance from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, Montana Conservation Corps has activated an Incident Response Team to address questions and plan for potential contingencies for the organization. This team’s members are Wendy Wigert (Director of Operations), Kate O’Neill (Director of Programs), Adam Hein (Regional Director), Bobby Grillo (Regional Director), Kristin Vandewalle (Associate Director of Marketing and Communications), Brad Koontz (Statewide Program Manager), and Michele Schahczenski (Executive and Development Coordinator).
This team is monitoring real time updates from the CDC, World Health Organization, and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The team will be posting updates and additional resources on a MCC Coronavirus webpage for which a link can be found at www.mtcorps.org on the homepage as well as under the “About” tab. The best source for the most up to date information will continue to be the CDC for information on prevention, treatment, and guidance for travel.
Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath should call both a local healthcare professional and their Regional Director in advance (before going into the doctor’s office or MCC office). Local healthcare professionals will work with the public health department to help determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you are having any problems finding a local health care provider, please call your Regional Director for assistance.
Additionally for BSWC Members:
If your host site implements a quarantine and/or policy to stay at home prior to any such initiative from MCC please adhere to it and notify an IPP staff member as soon as you are able.
If MCC issues a policy prior to your host site we will ask that you adhere to it and an MCC staff member will notify your supervisor to discuss details
If a stay at home policy is put in place by MCC or your host site we will make necessary arrangements to ensure you are still able to meet your hour requirements to the best of our ability.
Any additional questions or concerns can be directed to those mentioned in the safety memo or to anyone of the IPP staff.
The virus is thought to spread primarily from person to person from an infected person to other people nearby. People are thought to be most contagious when exhibiting symptoms but may also be contagious before exhibiting symptoms. With this information in mind, please familiarize yourself with the following everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash and
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Use disposable products for drying hands, such as paper towels, and no touch disposal receptacles.
- Take extra care to keep shared food sanitary and separate.
All offices and host sites will implement everyday routines and practices that include many of the above suggestions. Examples of such practices could include:
Implementing a standard practice of everyone washing their hands when they come into the office
Daily office cleanings, especially of flat surfaces or high contact points (door knobs, light switches, etc.)
Regular reminders of the MCC “Culture of Caring”
Although we ourselves cannot prevent COVID-19 from reaching Montana we can be vigilant in our own practices and helping to mitigate the spread in our organization and communities. We will be taking further actions in the coming days to help mitigate external factors that may impact MCC in different ways.
Sincerely, Jono McKinney, President and CEO