The coronavirus is making headlines around the world. Measures are being taken to control the spread of the virus, but it continues to have a global impact, leading governments to establish travel restrictions, schools to close and businesses to mandate employees to work from home.
What is a Coronavirus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronaviruses cause a fever and upper respiratory issues like a sore throat, coughing, and runny nose. Sometimes coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Older people and those with underlying medical issues such as weak immune systems, heart disease and diabetes at the most risk.
In late January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new virus, officially named COVID-19, a global health emergency. While most cases of COVID-19 are in China, the disease has spread to 77 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.
In just ten weeks, the number of reported cases of the covid-19 coronavirus has soared to more than a hundred and ten thousand in a hundred countries. In the United States, thirty-four states now have cases. Currently there are 2,773 people under quarantine in New York and just over 800 in New Jersey. Since the scare began, 654 people in New Jersey have completed self-quarantine without coming down with the disease, which has symptoms similar to the flu.
It is important to know that according to New Jersey law, once the quarantine has been satisfied, employees must be reinstated to their previous position or one equal in seniority, status and pay.
Specifically, New Jersey statute 26:13-16 says that, if the State of New Jersey places a worker in quarantine (unless a temporary work position), the worker must be reinstated to their same position and salary after the quarantine is lifted, as long as the employee applies for reemployment within 90 days after being released from isolation or quarantine (unless the employer’s circumstances have so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so).
If the employer fails or refuses to reinstate the employee who was in quarantine, the Superior Court may require the employer to reinstate that employee and pay the employee for lost wages and benefits, as well as the employee’s attorney’s fees.
This disease has not peaked and is continuing to spread around the globe. It is important to be continually vigilant about exercising common sense safety precautions.
· Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Avoid touching your eyes or nose and practice respiratory hygiene.
· Maintain social distancing put at least 3 feet of space between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
· Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
· If you have fever cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.