Important information for our clients and app users about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear Appointfix clients and app users, we know there is a growing concern regarding the impact of the coronavirus, and we’d like to inform you that we have taken all the right measures and precautions for our team. The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) calls for responsibility in following the guidelines of the local authorities and health departments. We are closely monitoring the situation and we’ve made some strategic decisions about how to best protect our team members and clients. In the end, we all want to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the local community we serve, as well as serving the small businesses of our clients around the world. 

Taking good care of our team 

As most of you know, our offices are located in Oradea, Romania. The national authorities of Romania decided to close schools from March 11th until March 22nd, 2020 (for now). There’s no reason to panic, as these measures were taken in order to avoid any complicated situations like the one Italy is going through right now. In terms of numbers, in the whole country of Romania there are currently 81 cases of coronavirus in total, and none of them are in the city of Oradea. As a precaution measure though, we encouraged all of our team members to work remotely from home and be with their families. 

Everyone in the Appointfix team is healthy and all operations continue as usual. Our Appointfix staff will be working from home starting today Friday March 13th, 2020.A couple of team members might stop by the office in case of exceptional situations, if anything urgent should be dealt with in person, but our entire staff will be working remotely during this time. By the nature of our work, all our staff will be able to fulfill their job responsibilities successfully in these new circumstances. 

We continue to work on Online Bookingand we’ll continue to solve any issue that might arise. As always, our excellent Support team will be working around the clock for solving any issues and answer all of your questions. 

These safety measures were decided by the management, in order to protect and preserve the health of all our employees. We highly value our team members, so their health and well-being is of the utmost concern. As a side note, that is probably why everyone in our team really loves working for Appointfix: wonderful team, great management and nice work environment. 🙂

Taking good care of our clients

Together with taking care of our team members, we’d like to inform our clients about the importance of following the recommendations of the authorities about COVID-19 in your country or state. The majority of our Appointfix clients are from the USA. Then another large number of our clients are from Australia, the UK, plus other countries in Europe and Asia. 

As Appointfix clients are from all over the world, we understand you are deeply concerned about this challenge that the whole world seems to be facing. So are we. But we are also confident in knowing that this too shall pass. So let’s take heart, and do the things health specialists and authorities recommend in order to avoid catching and overcome this naugthy virus. 

If you’re dealing with an increased amount of stress and anxiety due to alarming coronavirus news, please take care of your emotions and mental health. Here you can read how. You can also check out more stress management techniques and some valuable insights for small business owners about the difference between stress and anxiety. If you feel you need a little more balance, you can find out some tips about reaching a healthy work-life balance. These are all useful resources to help you manage stress and anxiety these weeks. 

Did you know?

Apparently there are 69 species of coronaviruses, and seven of them can affect people. The scientists have found in the last 70 years, that the other coronaviruses typically affect mice, rats, dogs, cats, turkeys, horses, pigs, and cattle. Sometimes these animals can transmit coronaviruses to humans. 

The coronavirus situation around the world

The coronavirus appeared in the Wuhan province in China in December, 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to 136 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan). At the time of writing this article on March 13th, 2020 there are 143,769 cases of coronavirus in the world. Out of these cases, 70,920 people have fully recovered, and that is great news! 

67,455 are currently infected patients, and 91% of them are in mild condition. As of today, there were 5,394 deaths, out of which 3,177 deaths in China where the virus started, 1,266 people died in Italy, 514 in Iran, 122 deaths in Spain, 79 in France and 41 deaths in the USA. The majority of deaths were of old people who had other pathologies too. 

Coronavirus in the USA

As of today, in the USA were 2,018 confirmed coronavirus cases and 41 deaths. Out of the 1,946 currently infected patients in the USA, 99% are in mild condition and only 1% (10 cases) are in serious or critical condition.  

The first coronavirus U.S. case was a 35-year-old man who had traveled to Wuhan, China, before returning to Washington State. He was confirmed to have the virus on Jan. 20, 2020. Since then, the virus has spread to several states, with new cases emerging every day.

Many events and big gatherings were cancelled in the USA in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19. That is the case in a number of European countries as well. Americans should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community. Currently a vaccine or drug is not available for coronavirus. If your community is affected, the measures from the authorities will lead to event cancellations, school dismissals, social distancing and creating employee plans to work remotely in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Yesterday Vice President Mike Pence announced that all Americans coming home from Europe will be funnelled through 13 different airports. They’ll be screened and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

More info and measures to stop the spreading of the coronavirus in the United States

– Washington State governor orders schools to close until April in King, Pierce, Snohomish Counties.

– Marylandwill close all schools for 2 weeksstarting Monday.

– Ohio governor closes schools Monday through at least April 3.

– California: many schools in the Bay Area closedue to the coronavirus outbreak.

– New Yorkstate has banned gatherings of more than 500 people.

– Kentucky governor asks all schools to closefor at least 2 weeks.

– Virginia: all schools will close March 16-27, at a minimum, the governor announced this afternoon.

– New Mexico: to close all K-12 public schools for 3 weeks.

– Colorado:recommends that schools close for 72 hours if a positive case is confirmed in a school.

– Pennsylvania:dozens of schools in the city of Philadelphia have closed.

Regarding the rest of the world, the precaution measures include: 

Italyis in a nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus.

France to close all schools and universitiesbeginning Monday, March 16, 2020. Employers urged to let staff work from home. 

Israel isclosing all schools and universitiesbeginning today Friday, March 13, 2020. 

Czech Republic closes its borders. Almost no-one will be allowed to enter or leave the country.

Switzerland is closing all schools until at least April 4, 2020. 

Spaindeclared a 15 days state of emergency, closing school and cancelling events in the areas most affected by the virus. 

Germany: most schools will be closed from Monday.

Lithuania(3 cases total) and Latvia(16 cases total) close schools, ban large public gatherings over coronavirus. 

Greece is closing all the courthouses, theaters, cinemas, gyms, children playgrounds and nightclubs in the country, after having already closed the schools two days ago

In order to find out more about this virus and how to protect ourselves from it, we’re sharing some useful information from the experts.

How is coronavirus transmitted? 

According to Miguel Nunez, infectious disease expert: “transmission occurs through small droplets of liquid from coughs or sneezes. It can also be transmitted by touching objects these droplets touched. The virus enters through mucosa in the mouth, the nasal route, or the eyes. The incubation period is estimated to be between two and 14 days.

Many wonder how long the coronavirus can live outside the body—anywhere from several hours to several days. Viruses are microscopic organisms that live inside cells. Therefore, they’re alive as long as the cell they inhabit is alive. If the environment or surface on which the virus is located is wet, or has a high degree of humidity, they may be able to remain alive for several days. If the surface is dry, the virus may die within hours.

It’s estimated that each infected patient will transmit the virus to an average of 2.6 people. Most cases of COVID-19 have been reported in people who’ve been in contact with others who had been infected by the virus. However, in several communities there are cases where the disease appeared without any contact with someone infected.

The closer you are to the affected person, the greater your risk of being infected. It should be noted that the CDC considers “close contact” to be about six feet (1.8 meters) away from the person.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

As Miguel Nunez mentioned above, 20 percent of patients will never develop any symptoms. The observed symptoms are fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms are similar to those of a flu, particularly similar to influenza.

Symptoms remain mild in 85 percent to 89 percent of cases, but 11 percent to 15 percent of cases progress to severe and critical symptoms. These patients will have respiratory distress, the development of pneumonia, and even the presentation of hypotension or septic shock.

What prevention measures should we take?

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Frequent hand washing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. So water and soap is better than sanitizer. But if you can’t use water, a sanitizer could do the job too. 

2. Not touching our faces is another prevention measure.According to the  Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) “When you touch your face with dirty, unwashed hands, germs can take up residence in your mucus membranes which can lead to an infection.”

3. Minimize physical contact with other people.That is also recommended, until this epidemic is considered to be under control. So no more shaking hands, hugging, kissing, etc.. What some people recommend now is winking instead of hugging. 😉 Try it and let us know how it works. And always make sure you keep up the verbal affection! 🙂

4. Limit your travels.As for travel safety, it depends on the destination. If you plan to travel to a country where the number of cases has increased, well… you simply shouldn’t travel! Countries like Italy, China, Iran or Spain should be avoided at this time, until things settle and the spreading of the virus stops. 

It also goes without saying that if you have travelled to an area affected by the coronavirus, or have been in touch with people infected by the virus, you should stay at home in self-quarantine for 14 days. It’s a respectful measure in order to protect other people’s health too. Get plenty of books to read, movies to watch and food to prepare and enjoy. You don’t need to stock up on toiler paper though! After all, how much toilet paper does one need for two weeks?! People clearing up the toilet paper supplies of the stores around the world, is one of the most bizarre reactions to this coronavirus. What do you think it’s the best explanation? If you find a logical one, please let us know too.

In conclusion

Of course we continue to wash our hands thoroughly, and listen to the authorities in doing everything needed to protect ourselves from viruses. As importantly though, let’s take care of our souls too. Let’s choose hope, peace and joy during this time!Let’s be so filled with them, that our friends, family and coworkers will be catching them too. Let’s see if hope, peace and good vibes can spread fast as well. How can this work? The secret is in the little things… Make a compliment to someone in your family, write an encouraging email to a co-worker or to your boss, send a good vibes text message to a dear friend. Bring peace, joy and encouragement, instead of fueling the panic. 

As always, Appointfix is here for you and we want you to know that we’re working as normal. As mentioned above, we work remotely at this time in order to protect our team members’ health, and follow the recommendations of the authorities (even if there are no cases of coronaviruses in our area yet). We remain committed to you and your business, doing everything we can to help your business thrive. 

We are humbled by your loyalty and we’re making every effort to provide you with the best Appointfix services and finish the new functions as scheduled. Nothing beats our determination to do a great job! So we’re continuing to work hard, providing you with the best scheduling services. 

No matter how concerning the news might seem, do not let anything rob your inner peace! As Wayne W. Dyer puts it “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” No storm lasts forever, so let’s take heart! After all, it’s not that hard to keep washing our hands thoroughly and frequently. Praying we all stay healthy! 🙂

Emilia is Content Marketing Director at Appointfix, an app helping professionals and small businesses easily schedule appointments and reduce client no-shows using automated text reminders. Feel free to drop her an email at emilia.pustan@appointfix.com.