Oceanit Statement on the COVID-19 Coronavirus
To the Oceanit Ohana, our Partners, and our Community...
We recognize that with the constantly changing COVID-19 situation in Hawai’i and around the world, we are facing an unprecedented time in our history—a time that, for many, is filled with uncertainty. For 35 years, Oceanit has placed the health and safety of our employees, Ohana, and partners as our top priority, and we will continue to do so as we monitor and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To this end, Oceanit has implemented a number of sensible policies to help us mitigate the risks involved while moving forward with operation. These precautionary measures will limit the potential spread of the virus and support our employees. Our Human Resource and Leadership teams remain vigilant as conditions evolve. We believe the actions taken for business continuity will allow us to operate with minimal disruptions to our work on projects and products. The measures will allow us to continue our work to benefit humans and society at home and around the world.
These policies include work scheduling to lower office density and promote social distancing. High-risk employees will work remotely indefinitely and we have suspended all tours and group meetings/events at Oceanit’s offices to protect staff and visitors. We are following CDC and other government agency guidelines regarding business travel and employee quarantine.
Many or most schools in Hawai’i are currently closed and we anticipate that closures will likely be extended beyond the end of this month. All Oceanit managers, many of whom are parents themselves, will be supportive of the challenges that employees with school-aged children will face given this situation. Oceanit continues to actively monitoring the most recent news and announcements from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The world is facing a novel disease that, according to early data, is proving to be far deadlier than the flu. Oceanit believe it is important to understand why the actions taken by countries, cities, and companies around the world are as drastic as they are: While the flu kills less than 1% of infected people, data so far shows COVID-19 is fatal at a much higher rate and especially amongst people of advanced age and those with preexisting immune issues.
COVID-19 also seems to be more infectious and more easily spread than the flu. This means that if a significant portion of the population becomes infected, the mortality rates could be staggering. As of this writing (17 March 2020), around 200,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide with almost 8000 deaths confirmed.
A Brief History of Coronaviruses
Coronaviruses were first documented in the 1960s and are a family of viruses which, most of the time, cause symptoms similar to a bad cold. The typically cause mild to moderate upper respiratory problems such as a runny nose and sore throat. Unfortunately, coronaviruses can be deadly sometimes; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which occurred in the early 2000s, infected over 8,000 people and resulted in over 800 deaths. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), first seen in Saudi Arabia in 2012, infected over 2,500 people and resulted in 800 deaths.
The latest coronavirus, now named COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China late last year. While the early data show the death rate to be less than SARS (10%) and MERS (30%), COVID-19 is spreading much faster and with apparent ease when compared with the other two well-known coronaviruses.
15 Days to Slow the Spread
As we do our best to protect our communities, it is important that we all follow guidance provided by local, state, and federal authorities. If you feel sick, please stay home. Do not go to work or public gatherings. If your children are sick, keep them at home as well. Do not send them to school, but do contact your medical care provider.
If someone in your household or family has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home and seek ways to have all of your family tested. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (such as conditions that impair lung or heart function, or weaken your immune system), please be extra vigilant and avoid groups.
We encourage everyone to practice good hygiene as well! Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface. Avoid touching your face and remember to sneeze or cough into tissues or your elbow, rather than into your hands. Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces whenever possible.
While we all work together to slow the spread of this virus, you should know that Oceanit remains steadfastly committed to our team, our community, our customers, and our partners. We will continue our work to bring forth the best and brightest people, ideas, and technologies. The work we stand for is work for the benefit of humanity and society.