Dear Novanta Employees,
All Information is available for you to read or to print.

Travel Restrictions

  • All Non-Essential International travel outside your home country is suspended through the end of March, at which time we will reassess and provide an update
  • Travel within the US to and from WA state is also suspended until further notice – all other US travel is unaffected at this time.
  • We are asking individuals who have traveled to or from China, South Korea, Japan, Northern Italy and WA state USA for personal or business reasons to coordinate with their Manager before returning to work.  We ask these employees to work from home for 14 days where possible, prior to returning to any Novanta office location.

Health & Safety Reminders

  • We expect all employees to remain out of the office, and if necessary, seek medical attention if they are sick or develop a fever or other flu-like symptoms.  Managers are asked to support and implement this mandate.
  • Please report any confirmed cases of Coronavirus involving Novanta employees to Human Resources.
  • Frequently wash your hands, avoiding touching unwashed hands to the face and liberal use of hand sanitizer.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and putting the tissue in a waste basket.
  • Coughing or sneezing into your upper sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
  • Cleaning your hands after coughing or sneezing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your nose, eyes or mouth.

Meeting and Gathering Guidelines

  • A large gathering is defined as having 25 or more participants.
  • Avoid large gathering meetings in the workplace.
  • Limit conference room meetings to 10 participants or less in company conference rooms and when meeting allow 1-meter space minimum between meeting participants
  • Do not attend large gatherings outside of the office: trade shows, conferences, large social gatherings.

Common Area and Lunchroom Guidelines:

  • Implement social distancing in common areas and lunchrooms where populations may exceed twenty-five, you must maintain at least one-meter distance or more between people at all times.
  • Implement social distancing in your production environment of onemeter distance or more between people at all times.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the name of the disease caused by a newly discovered virus. This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person.The disease is also called COVID-19, or novel coronavirus disease 2019. COVID-19 is different from the other coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 are evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

The new virus causing the COVID-19 disease is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2. As the name indicates, the virus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, but it is NOT the same virus.

More information about the source and spread of COVID-19 is available on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

How does the virus spread?

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

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 this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. In addition, how easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, or spreading continually without stopping. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (i.e. “community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. More information about the affected areas is available here:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html#geographic

Note that it may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

Multiple Synrad employees were quarantined after a recent trip to Japan. Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been or may have been exposed to a contagious disease, but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease. Quarantine is usually established for the incubation period of the communicable disease, which is the span of time during which people have developed illness after exposure. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure, because 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronaviruses. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the incubation period.

Am I at risk for COVID‐19?

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk to the general public from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccines or medications that can treat the illness). That this disease has caused severe illness, including illness resulting in death is concerning, especially since it has also shown sustained person-to-person spread in several places. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus.

It is important to note that current circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC’s risk assessment will be updated as needed.

Current risk assessment:

  • For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on location.

CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.

How can I protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is also no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed and to practice actions that prevent the spread of general respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • People who are well do not need to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should primarily be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
    • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

What are the symptoms?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2002032) suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

What do I do if I have symptoms?

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. See this website for a list of areas with high transmission rates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html#geographic. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19, but people with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Will it continue to spread?

More cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in communities in the United States. It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.

For updates local to the Novanta Mukilteo facility, see this Snohomish County Health District website: https://www.snohd.org/484/Novel-Coronavirus-2019

Are some ethnic groups more at risk?

Most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. However, some people are worried about the disease, and it’s important to note that this fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma towards Chinese or other Asian Americans. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease (for example, Chinese-Americans and other Asian-Americans living in the United States). Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma by providing social support and by communicating the facts, i.e. that being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.

How should we handle visitors to our site location?

Visitor Protocol

  1. All visitors must disclose travel history for previous 14 days to ensure they have not traveled to an identified hot spot
  2. Visitors include customers, suppliers, candidates and vendors
  3. If unwilling to disclose their travel history, they are prohibited from entering Novanta buildings

What if I am on personal travel and I visit a hot spot or encounter someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

If you were in a CDC Level 2 “hot spot” or a company designated “hot spot” or had contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, then you must remain away from work for 14 symptom free days.  Contact your Manager or Human Resources Business Partner to inform them and receive guidance.

What if I encounter someone who appears to exhibit the symptoms of COVID‐19?

If you think someone in the workplace is exhibiting symptoms, please act with professional courtesy and confidentiality to engage your manager and Human Resources Business Partner to inform them of your concern.  Please be reminded that the normal cold and flu season is upon us and both have similar symptoms.  We need to ensure personal safety AND each individual must be treated with respect and dignity.  HR will handle the assessment and determination and  you should not discuss this beyond your manager and HR Business Partner.

Is it safe to handle incoming packages from mail or common carrier?

There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. Two other coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV). The virus that causes COVID-19 is more genetically related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are betacoronaviruses with their origins in bats. While we don’t know for sure that this virus will behave the same way as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, we can use the information gained from both of these earlier coronaviruses to guide us. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. Information will be provided on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website as it becomes available.

We strongly advise each of you to stay current and up to date on the most current information available:

US Department of State: 
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-
travel-advice/china

German Auswaertiges-Amt:  
https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/search?search=coronavirus%20china

US Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
www.cdc.gov

World Health Organization: 
www.who.org

NIID (National Institute of Infectious Diseases)
https://www.niid.go.jp/niid/en/2019-ncov-e.html

FOR FURTHER QUESTIONS:

We will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide updates as necessary and when more information is made available.

If there are any specific questions regarding the Novanta company response, please direct them to brian.young@novanta.com and cc: cynthia.freeman@novanta.com