The World Health Organization has characterized COVID-19 (coronavirus) as a pandemic and its effects have become impossible to ignore. COVID-19 is a flu like virus spread by direct, person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. With the rise in the number of people infected, this virus is impacting many aspects of life and interpreting is no different.
Our main goal is to keep our clients and our interpreters safe while still providing the very necessary interpreting services needed nationwide. If you are located in an area that has not issued a shelter in place order, then we have prepared the following tips for on-site interpreting assignments. We are not medical experts and encourage you to research further safety precautions to keep you and your families safe.
If you are working on-site as an interpreter, please adhere to the following safety practices…
- If you suspect you have the virus or have been exposed, you must notify us as soon as you become aware.
- Avoid physical contact, i.e. handshakes, hugging. When greeting people, try to bump elbows or tap feet. If someone reaches out to shake your hand, you can politely refuse and or offer one of these alternatives.
- Ask staff if there are any policies in place that you as an interpreter can follow to prevent the spread. Many businesses and medical offices are updating policies in light of this virus to keep their staff safe. When you arrive, you can ask front desk staff if there are any new policies you should know, and we will be doing the same.
- If you are not feeling well, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Here are a few more precautions we can all take in our daily lives…
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. It seems basic but wash them as often as possible. Any time you sneeze, cough, or touch your face. Many songs have choruses that last 20 seconds including happy birthday to sing while you wash.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Washing hands with soap and water is best but this is a close second.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face. That is often how the virus spreads. We know it’s hard, but you can do it!
- Wipe down and disinfect surfaces that you touch, especially your phone.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow
- Avoid all non-essential travel
- Avoid large public gatherings