HEAR FROM OSHA REGARDING OXYGEN LEVELS AND MASKS
Q. Does wearing a medical/surgical mask or cloth face covering cause unsafe oxygen levels or harmful carbon dioxide levels to the wearer?
A. No. Medical masks, including surgical masks, are routinely worn by healthcare workers throughout the day as part of their personal protective equipment ensembles and do not compromise their oxygen levels or cause carbon dioxide buildup. They are designed to be breathed through and can protect against respiratory droplets, which are typically much larger than tiny carbon dioxide particles. Consequently, most carbon dioxide particles will either go through the mask or escape along the mask's loose-fitting perimeter. Some carbon dioxide might collect between the mask and the wearer's face, but not at unsafe levels.
Like medical masks, cloth face coverings are loose-fitting with no seal and are designed to be breathed through. Workers may easily remove their medical masks or cloth face coverings periodically (and when not in close proximity with others) to eliminate any negligible buildup of carbon dioxide that might occur. Cloth face coverings and medical masks can help prevent the spread of potentially infectious respiratory droplets from the wearer to their co-workers, including when the wearer has COVID-19 and does not know it.
FACTS ABOUT MASKS: OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear medical masks or cloth face coverings at work to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. OSHA recently issued frequently asked questions (FAQ) guidance to address inaccurate claims that these masks and face coverings cause unsafe oxygen or harmful carbon dioxide levels for the wearer. Get the facts here.
ONLINE TRAINING: Members are urged to take the online ICRA and COVID-19 Preparedness Qualification courses: https://bit.ly/3epFT9Y
ASK THE COUNCIL: Have a question about COVID-19 and how it affects your work? We want to hear from you. We now operate a virtual "Ask-the-Council" program where you can get answers to your questions by a SECRC staff member. Please text the word QUESTION to 1-877-747-3272 (877-74-SECRC) to get started.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENDED: Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, multiple state are extending unemployment benefits. See details for each state, here: https://money.com/coronavirus-state-unemployment-benefit-extension/?xid=applenew
RE-OPENINGS...OR NOT: Due to rising COVID-19 case counts, several states in our region are pausing or reversing plans to re-open. Click here for details about your state's status and restrictions. Be aware city and county orders are affecting many areas as well. Check with your local governments to find out if additional rules apply. Check it out: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/states-reopen-map-coronavirus.html.
FACE MASK MAINTENANCE: Face masks are a part of everyone’s life right now, including construction job sites. If you wear a reusable cloth face covering, it’s important to keep it clean. Per OSHA, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance on washing face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html. OSHA also suggests following those recommendations, and always washing or discarding cloth face coverings that are visibly soiled. Read more tips and information about cloth face coverings, here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/covid-19-faq.html#cloth-face-coverings and here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
HOW TO STAY HEALTHY ON THE JOB: As more of our members get back on the job, we know safety measures like keeping 6 feet apart are challenging. But it is important to practice social distancing and protect yourself in other ways like:
SUICIDE PREVENTION: Help is just a phone call or text away. Don't wait. Your life is worth it: https://bit.ly/2W3rLMo
TWIC CARD: Expiration dates are extended by six months: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the expiration date of Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) is being extended by six months. This applies to cards expiring between March 1 and July 31, 2020. Get details here: https://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/esvp_twic_exemption-faqs-notice_4_14_20.pdf
TRACK COVID-19 in your own county: The Harvard Global Health Institute released a new tool that allows you to see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange, or red for the county where you live. Check it out: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/.
CAR INSURANCE: You may be eligible for a refund on your car insurance premium. What you need to know: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2020/04/16/coronavirus-relief-how-get-your-car-insurance-refunds/2990448001/
SCAM ALERT: Federal Trade Commission offers tips to avoid COVID-19 scams: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing
Track COVID-19 in your own county: The Harvard Global Health Institute released a new tool that allows you to see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange, or red for the county where you live. Check it out: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/.
General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program: http://www.labor.alabama.gov/uc/
To file a UI claim online: https://labor.alabama.gov/uc/ICCS/
To file a claim by telephone number: https://labor.alabama.gov/uc/phone.aspx
General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program: https://dol.georgia.gov/unemployment-benefits
To file a UI claim online: https://www.dol.state.ga.us/WS4-MW5/cics.jsp?TRANSID=UCI1&FRMNAME=UCI1S
To file a claim by telephone number: 404-232-3180
General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program: https://des.nc.gov/apply-unemployment
To file a UI claim online: https://fed.des.nc.gov/ofis/citizen/pages/public/Login.aspx
To file a claim by telephone number: 1-888-737-0259
General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program: https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/apply-for-benefits/claims-process
To file a UI claim online: https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/apply-for-benefits/claims-process
To file a claim by telephone number: To File an Out of State claim by phone, residents should call the Interstate Unit at 1-800-529-8339.
To check the status or get information on your claim: https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/manage-your-benefits/payment-status
General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment.html
To file a UI claim online: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment.html
To file a claim by telephone number: Telephone Support for Unemployment Insurance Filing: 844-224-5818
Tennessee also has an emergency cash assistance program. Click here to learn more.
Local Health Departments...
What if I or my family members have symptoms?
What are common symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
COVID-19, also called “Coronavirus,” is a flu-like illness. The most common symptoms are fever, fatigue, cough, and shortness of breath.
How Do I stay healthy?
Slowing the spread of this virus is the best strategy to keep our members and their families healthy. Please follow these guidelines:
I’m freaking out. What should I do?
Anxiety, depression, worry and apprehension are all common responses during uncertain times. Please pay attention to how you are feeling and practice self-care. For helpful tips, please read this resource on How to Cope with Anxiety About Coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.verywellmind.com/managing-coronavirus-anxiety-4798909
Is there any good news to focus on?