Best advice: Don’t come to work if you’re feeling sick


While departments try to determine which staff members are “critical” and should definitely report to campus, and which staffers might discuss with their supervisor the possibility of working from home, here is a guide to Pitt rules and recommendations for dealing with COVID-19 – the coronavirus.

Pitt’s top recommendation:

  • Don’t come to work if you are feeling sick.

  • Practice social distancing — avoiding crowds and close contact with groups of others by not attending large gatherings or using public transportation.

  • Faculty and staff who are experiencing any of the main symptoms of the illness (fever, coughing, shortness of breath) or who believe they have been exposed to someone who has traveled to an area of COVID-19 outbreak should call MyHealth@Work at 412-647-4949 or consult their own health professional.

  • See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide for preventing COVID-19 from spreading, how to isolate yourself if you have the disease with manageable symptoms, and what to do if you have been in contact or live with someone who may, or does, have the disease

  • Sign up for Emergency Notification Services alerts and consult for updated information about the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the majority of staff and faculty, who will still be working from campus or from home, the University has released new regulations to try to lessen the virus’s impact:

  • Staff members now have 10 more working days of paid sick leave available, although he established limit of 120 days remains in effect.

  • Supervisors are being asked to have “maximal flexibility” in providing remote working arrangements, particularly for those already practicing social distancing, as well as those 60 and older or who have underlying medical conditions that can put them at greater risk for extreme symptoms.

  • Pitt recommends that people isolate themselves for 14 days after foreign travel to countries with the most coronavirus cases since February 13, 2020 — China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea — or if they have been exposed to someone with the illness.

  • But those who have travelled abroad and lack symptoms “should not be excluded from work, class or campus activity,” the University’s recommendations conclude — unless their work involves contact with “people with compromised immune systems or small children undergoing medical care.”

You should also know that UPMC Health Plan, which covers the vast majority of Pitt employees and their families who have Pitt benefits, recently waived deductibles, copayments or other patient costs for COVID-19 testing “when ordered by a member’s treating medical provider,” UPMC announced.

UPMC Clinical Laboratories are rapidly developing a test for use in diagnosing patients suspected of having COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus rapidly spreading worldwide. UPMC is creating its own test to significantly shorten the time it takes to get from suspected case to diagnosis.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


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