March 9, 2020
Every year, flu season is responsible for canceled pet care visits and team members being out of work for several days. In December 2019, we were introduced to a new Coronavirus, which created panic amongst people across the world.
In early 2020, the virus reached New Hampshire. Now, in addition to precautions to help avoid spreading the flu between team members and clients, we are taking precautions to avoid this new Coronavirus as well.
What are Coronaviruses?
[Helpful information found at www.petsit.com/covid19]
Research shows that coronaviruses are a group of viruses that result in a variety of illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe infections such as pneumonia. What we are seeing in the news now is the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 20190nCoV (or COVID-19) is the virus that has been identified as the cause of the outbreak of respiratory illness that was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Other impacted countries now include Iran and Italy, and most recently, cases have been identified in various U.S. states, including New Hampshire. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and can lead to more serious illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that while this particular virus was first linked to the live animal market, the virus is now spreading person-to-person.
The CDC recommends a variety of preventative actions to help prevent the spread of this Coronavirus including avoiding close contact with those who are sick; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and proper handwashing. The CDC only recommends face masks for
those who show symptoms of COVID-19 (not for those who are healthy).
Does this coronavirus affect pets?
There have also been recent concerns (and misinformation shared) regarding whether or not pets can contract and spread this Coronavirus. Dr. Marty Becker addresses this question in his recent blog post and shares that currently “there’s no evidence that pets or other animals in the United States could be a source of infection, or that they could become infected through contact with a human who has the virus.” However, the CDC does advise restricting your contact with pets if you are sick with COVID-19, just as you would with people.
Steps we are taking to ensure team member and client safety:
- Staying home: Any team member who is sick with flu-like symptoms will stay home. If a team member feels they have been exposed to the Coronavirus (at a client’s home or in public), they must report the exposure immediately to their manager and self-quarantine for a minimum of 2 weeks. Employees will not be able to return to work without a doctor’s note.
- Hand washing: Employees are expected to thoroughly wash their hands (20+ seconds with soap and water) in between pet care visits as well as several times throughout the visit especially if they have touched external surfaces where contact with germs can occur. If soap is not available, use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Disinfecting common surfaces: Starting Monday, March 9, 2020, ALL team members are required to carry spray bottles and paper towels with them (both are supplied by the company). The spray bottles are filled with an all-natural disinfectant spray that contains water, hydrogen peroxide, Dawn dish soap, and coconut oil. While at a visit, team members will take a few extra minutes to disinfect common surfaces such as doorknobs, toilet handles, faucets, countertops, etc. They will dispose of used paper towels in the client’s kitchen trash can.
- Washing dog’s feet/fur: Our research suggests that the new Coronavirus lives on a pet’s fur and feet if exposed to the right conditions. Because of this, the disinfectant spray can be used to clean a dog’s feet after a walk. It can also be safely sprayed on their fur to help kill any possible germs that may be lingering from exposure to people petting the dog while out in public.
Clients who have questions or special requests should contact us directly through their online portal. Together, we will ensure the safety of our team, your family and your pets.