Information on How to Deal With COVID-19 for Dairy Workers

Apr 02, 2020

Subscribe to our Newsletters
By Maristela Rovai and Leyby Guifarro
We would like to share some advice on measures to follow due to the problems that are affecting the world population today, including all of us.
We want to give you reliable information and thus avoid panic. It is essential to clarify that the information provided may change in the near future as we are still learning about this new virus.
What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
Coronaviruses are an extensive family of viruses. In humans, coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections.
COVID-19 is a virus that was unknown until its outbreak in Wuhan (China) last December 2019. With the movement of people in planes or ships from one place to another, this virus has reached other countries and the United States.
How does the transmission happen?
From person to person primarily via respiratory droplets—little blobs of liquid released as someone infected or sick coughs, sneezes, talks, or blows their nose less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) away. The transmission also occurs through surfaces that are contaminated by the virus (e.g., handrails, door keys, keyboards, metals, plastics, etc.). Depending on the environmental conditions, the type of surface, and the viruses load, the virus can survive from a few minutes to several days.
Who is most at risk for the coronavirus disease?
Older adults and people with chronic diseases, especially obesity, diabetes, or high blood pressure and those with a depressed immune system, should be more careful because they are more sensitive to the disease.
In general, children, adolescents, and adults can contract the infection and be carriers even without showing any symptoms.
How long is the incubation period for the virus once it enters our bodies?
The incubation period for Covid-19 is approximately 14 days, during this time people need to be prepared in case any symptoms of respiratory infection appear. Symptoms can appear within a few days or take 14 days to appear.
It is essential to know that there are cases where people have the virus without having symptoms. For this reason, you should avoid contact with other people as much as possible and avoid any social activity such as parties, family gatherings, churches, clubs, gym, or group sports.
The symptoms you must pay close attention to:
  • Fever above 100°F or 38°C 
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea may appear in some cases
What should I do if I detect any symptoms?
If you detect any symptoms or suspicions of possible coronavirus infection, immediately notify your manager. Call a hospital or healthcare provider, and they will tell you what to do next. Wear a mask only if you have symptoms of illness!
Isolate yourself immediately and follow the instructions of health professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses)
How to avoid getting infected with the virus?
  1. Wash your hands very well with soap and water for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Use the hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  3. Do not touch your face without first disinfecting or washing your hands well.
  4. Avoid direct contact with people or being in social gatherings.
  5. Disinfect any surface with disinfectant or soap solution if possible, or use disinfectant wipes.
What is "social distancing or isolation"? What is quarantine?
Many times, these two terms are used interchangeably, meaning the same thing: a restriction on the movement of people with the MAIN objective of preventing the spread of diseases or pests. In this case, prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
A big difference is that social isolation is mostly voluntary; a quarantine can be voluntary or mandatory, where the government forces subjects to be isolated.
The word quarantine comes from how a period of isolation was formerly imposed when a person or group believed to be infected, exhibited symptoms of illness or came from an area where a disease was present. Historically, a quarantine referred to a period of 40 days of isolation, hence the name. Today the time of quarantine depends on what type of disease is being considered. In the case of CORONAVIRUS, it is at least 14 days. However, if someone from the isolated group tests positive, on the 10th day for example, the 14-day count begins again.
What to do with our children who are not attending school?
Children should also be isolated since they can carry or transmit the virus, even if they do not show the symptoms. As we are still in school session, the time that the children are at home should be distributed more carefully:
  • Try to continue their school teachings. If the school has sent homework and assignments, use them. If not, (or in addition to schoolwork), you can access the resources that are available on the internet.
  • Schedule the day for a variety of activities: study, reading, math, board games, video games, housework, television, exercise, writing, practicing another language, and other activities.
  • You do not have to do everything in one day, but you can alternate two or three activities each day.
  • Many companies and institutions are making free resources available for the education and healthy entertainment of children on the Internet.
  • This time is also an excellent time to strengthen and build family bonds in your home, take the time to talk to your children, and listen to them when they speak.
What additional measures should I take at home?
All family members who leave the house, whether to work or shopping, can bring the virus with them in one way or another. One way to prevent the virus from entering the home is through procedures for separating clothes and footwear used at work. When you arrive from work at the farm, leave your shoes and work clothes in a separate place.
Places to store your work can be the garage, laundry room, or a closet for storage. Have a separate box or place for keys, hats, gloves, and other things that you will use again when you leave. Disinfect cell phones, glasses, and other items you are going to bring into the house.
If possible, take a bath immediately or at least wash your hands, arms, and face thoroughly with soap and water. Ensure you change to clean clothes before interacting with your family.
It is important to protect the elderly and people with diseases or a compromised immune system. Please, take precautionary measures and extra cleaning before interacting with them.
What about our jobs?
Dairy employees have essential jobs. Remember that we work with one of the most-nutritious foods in the world—milk. Therefore, if we follow safety measures to avoid being infected, we do not have to panic about the situation. We must remember that cows must be milked and taken care of daily; otherwise, they can get sick.
Let's go to work but with great caution, keeping a distance from other people. Please, if you see someone or you have symptoms of respiratory disease, do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or manager to prevent unwanted infection.
Cows give us milk. Milk saves lives. We, farm workers, are essential.
Source :