This is a page dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of M&R employees, their families and loved ones during the COVID-19 outbreak crisis. Please use this page as a resource of information provided by M&R and other helpful associations. This page will be routinely updated to answer commonly-asked questions and display up-to-the-minute information and resources to help keep you as safe as possible.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus not previously seen in humans. COVID-19 was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, that has spread around the world, including the United States and all 50 states. The latest situation summary updates are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside China, including the United States.
A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide. The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. Cases have been detected in most countries worldwide, including the United States, which has recorded cases in all 50 states.
People who are infected with COVID-19 have developed mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and potentially respiratory distress 2-14 days after exposure. Call your health care provider for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing.
COVID-19 has been shown to spread between people. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others, so CDC recommends these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on the severity of their illness) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Human coronaviruses typically spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation, including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient. Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:
Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
Diagnosis occurs through laboratory testing of respiratory specimens. Some coronavirus strains cause the common cold and patients tested by their health care provider may test positive for these types.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. There have been reports of this occurring with COVID-19, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least 6 feet away from other people reduces the chances of catching COVID-19. Other examples of social distancing with the goal of avoiding crowds, crowded spaces and mass gatherings include working from home instead of the office, closing schools and switching to on-line classes, visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person, suspending worship services, and canceling or postponing large meetings.
Gov. JB Pritzker has prohibited public and private gatherings of 50 or more people through May 1. This includes community, civic, public leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions and any similar event or activity that brings together 50 or more people in a room or space at the same time (CDC guidelines call for Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 people). The governor also, by Executive Order, closed schools, bars and restaurants through March 30. Restaurant kitchens can remain open and put in place drive-thru, curbside pickup and delivery options. The Illinois Gaming Board has suspended video gaming through March 30.
Yes, go outdoors for fresh air and exercise. Ride a bike, walk the dog, go for a hike, jog. Social distancing does not mean staying indoors, it means avoiding close contact with people. Remember to wash your hands any time you enter from outdoors and before you eat.
Yes. Buy as much as you need to lessen the number of trips and try and shop when the store is least likely to be crowded. Some grocery stores have designated special hours for the elderly (over age 60), pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems to lessen their exposure to large crowds and possible exposure to COVID-19.
Follow these tips to help prevent COVID-19:
If you have not already done so, discuss influenza vaccination with your health care provider to help protect you against seasonal influenza.
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a health care provider’s office. If you are unable to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
This is a new virus and we are still learning about it, but so far, there does not seem to be a lot of illness in children. Most illness, including serious illness, is happening in adults of working age and older adults. Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Encourage frequent handwashing and follow other prevention tips.
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are learning more about it every day. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, the CDC has said those most at risk include:
Yes. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
No. Currently, there is not a vaccine for COVID-19.
Currently, there are no specific treatments recommended for illnesses caused by COVID-19. Medical care is supportive to help relieve symptoms.
Health care providers and laboratories should report suspect COVID-19 cases immediately (within 3 hours) to their local health department, who should report cases to IDPH within the same time frame. For recommendations and guidance, see the IDPH Coronavirus Page or the CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
IDPH and local health departments have implemented heightened surveillance to identify and test patients most likely to have COVID-19. Public health experts are communicating with and educating health care providers and other public health partners about the current situation. Measures are being developed to prevent the spread of illness in Illinois. Frequent communication with the public will be available through the IDPH Coronavirus Page. Find CDC Travel Information here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
The following is a collection of recent videos created by M&R staff to address the current threat of COVID-19 as it pertains to the people and the current state of business at M&R.
Last Updated: 4/3/2020
We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 virus has changed life throughout the world. In order to navigate successfully through the pandemic, certain guidelines must be followed:
No one can navigate the spread of COVID-19 alone. If you need assistance, here are resources that may help.