SNOW LEOPARD CONSERVANCY COVID-19 POLICY

Ensuring Adoption of Best Safety Practices during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Effective May 2020

The Snow Leopard Conservancy will in accordance with all state and federal governmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure the health and safety of our employees is maintained as the highest priority of our organization.  Since mid-March, SLC employees have been working remotely from their homes while Sheltering-In-Place (SIP) using phone, email, and video conferencing for all communications. Visits to the SLC office for administrative tasks have been limited to essential tasks only every two days, and coordinated following all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulations using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), handwashing, social (physical distancing) and disinfecting (detailed below).  Given the dynamic and rapidly evolving situation, staff should refer any questions, comments, concerns and input to the director immediately, along with consulting the detailed instructions below.

All Staff are presently restricted from travelling nationally or internationally.  SLC expects all staff and partners to:

  • Implement important recommended measures to minimize infections and transmission of this aggressive coronavirus (wear facemasks, maintain social or physical distance of 6 feet or 2 meters from other persons when outside of the home, wash hands often & vigorously with soap, use hand sanitizer as needed).

  • Monitor for symptoms, stay at home (self-quarantine), and if you feel sick, seek medical attention as needed.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness, too often leading to death. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and there is evidence that infected persons still asymptomatic may transmit the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Sore throat

  • Loss of taste or smell

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Less common symptoms, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, have been reported.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention:   Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Bluish lips or face

Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

SLC will continue to monitor federal, state, and local public health communications about COVID-19 regulations, guidance, and recommendations and ensure that workers have access to that information.

When regulatory agencies permit non-essential services like SLC to re-open office operations, we will conduct a risk assessment and adopt procedures to avoid or minimize potential for COVID-19 transmission and infection. These will follow recommended procedures to the degree feasible and realistic, given resources available to SLC.  Special emphasis will be devoted to maintaining a clean work place. In order to continue maintaining sufficient social distance, we may also adopt staggered working hours, and continue holding our weekly staff meeting via Zoom, at least into the foreseeable future.

Currently, most of our partners are also sheltering in place, following guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as those put in place by their respective governments, local authorities and communities.  Mongolia has, by far, the world’s best record for controlling the coronavirus pandemic along with South Korea. Other countries, like the USA, currently have limited or very limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and virus testing and contact tracing is poor.  Most of Nepal’s infections are from the lower elevation regions, along the border with India, suggesting infection from returning migratory workers.  This has led local communities in remote mountain areas place like Nar-Phu and Upper Mustang (Nepal) are requesting all returning residents to wear masks and to self-quarantine for 14 days. Researchers have suggested that people living at high elevation are better adapted to coping with COVID-19 issues related to hypoxia. (See link below)

SLC is supporting partners in the following countries:  China, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia and Tajikistan.

SUSTAINING SNOW LEOPARD CONSERVATION IN NEPAL THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC

The Conservancy’s Manager of the Darwin Initiative, Dr. Shailendra Thakali, shares an important message about snow leopard conservation in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can help.

FURTHER READING

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON COVID-19 SYMPTOMS:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON REDUCING TRANSMISSION: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/early/2020/05/27/science.abc6197.full.pdf

FOR THE LATEST COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR THE TEN RANGE COUNTRIES WHERE OUR PARTNERS OPERATE:
WHO Website

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PHYSIOLOGICAL ACCLIMATIZATION/ADAPTATIONS OF PEOPLE LIVING AT HIGH ALTITUDES THAT REDUCES THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS.
Does the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 virus decrease at high-altitude?

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