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What you need to know about COVID-19 in your dairy

Contributed by Jorge Delgado Published on 18 March 2020

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory condition that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China.

How is COVID-19 spread?

It is likely that the virus that causes COVID-19 emerged from an animal source but is now spreading from person to person. It is believed that the virus spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with each other (within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets that are disseminated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

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It may also be possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that is hosting the virus and then touching their mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, although this is not believed to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of coronovirus 2019 at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory issues with the following symptoms:

1. Fever

2. Cough

3. Shortness of breath

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What are the serious complications caused by this virus?

Some patients contract pneumonia in both lungs and experience multiple organ failure, and some patients have died

What can I do to help protect myself and my coworkers at my dairy?

People can protect themselves from respiratory diseases by taking the following preventive measures every day:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people, both on and outside of your dairy.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands have not been washed.  
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wash your hands before you eat after working in the milking parlor or other areas of the dairy.
  • Ask the dairy manager or owner to keep the restrooms stocked with disinfectants and soap.
  • Always wear milking gloves.
  • Constantly change milking gloves.
  • When you get home after working in the dairy, always take a shower and wash your work clothes.
  • Keep the bathrooms and kitchen area in your workplace clean and disinfected.

If you are sick, to prevent transmitting your respiratory illness to others, do the following:

  • Stay home if you're sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, then throw it away.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch.
  • Form emergency plans for your dairy in the event of an illness.

Ask the dairy manager or owner to call the doctor's office if you have severe symptoms.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infections is to take daily preventive measures, such as avoiding close contact with sick people and washing your hands frequently.

Is there a treatment?

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical attention to help relieve symptoms.

Information sources

Alltech's Dairy On-Farm Support website provides fact sheets in both English and Spanish.

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For more information on COVID-19 in Spanish, visit the CDC website.  end mark

Jorge Delgado
  • Jorge Delgado

  • On-farm Dairy Training, Talent Development and Retention Program Specialist
  • Alltech
  • Email Jorge Delgado

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