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COVID-19 Briefing - 8/11

Children testing positive, return to work testing guidelines & more
  • Your hotspots today:  MN and IL (specifically Duluth, MN where several of you have multiple cases in your employee populations). 
  • Florida finally changed return to work guidelines to match the CDC’s which is no longer recommending testing (and difficulty in getting them done).  
  • Several clients are reporting communication from OSHA  re: employee complaints ranging from some employees not wearing masks to managers not allowing symptomatic employees to sit out. 
  • Here’s a great resource from the National Restaurant Association: State Reopening Training and Certification Requirements/Recommendations
  • Between seven and nine COVID-19 vaccines could be approved in the next two years, according to a new McKinsey study.
  • Questions surrounding ADA issues and employee temperatures persist.  Employee Benefits News reports that employer and privacy issues have been addressed in guidance. 
  • The rising rates of positive COVID results in children is alarming to those deciding if school open, or remain open, and for parents making decisions around sending kids back to school
  • And if things weren’t complicated enough, the potato, orange, lemon and lime recall (in mesh bags) is very challenging.  
  • Last but not least, bad news about gaiters as face masks:  Wearing a neck gaiter may be worse than no mask at all, researchers find

Best Questions:

Should I be excluding employees returning from Mexico?

Although the CDC did raise the travel alert to Level 3 last week which recommends avoiding travel there, there is no mandated quarantine unless your state specifically requires it. 

We have an employee who has provided a doctor’s note stating they’re unable to wear a mask due to asthma and now we have multiple guest complaints about the employee being unmasked.  Thoughts on how we should handle this?

Guest and co-worker complaints about masks are occurring on a daily basis now.  For this employee, we’d recommend they try a face shield.  Research doesn’t support their effectiveness as COVID protection, but it will likely make guests and co-workers feel more comfortable.

How do we address when some employees are uncomfortable after a co-worker returns to work post-COVID?

It’s important to clearly communicate that you are closely following all of the best guidance regarding when it is safe for someone to return to work - at least ten days including 24 hours fever free without fever-reducing medications.  Research supports that someone is no longer infectious after ten days (with some minor exceptions of very sick people who are hospitalized). Some clients are requiring one negative test but they are both difficult to get, results are taking a long time and some COVID patients are taking weeks or months to test negative. 

My employee is telling me they only got a verbal report on their positive COVID test and are having a difficult time getting a hard copy.  Is this possible?

Unfortunately, yes.  We have seen a number of labs, clinics and providers who are having difficult times reporting results.  Some hard copy results are lagging verbal +  reports by several days!  To verify, some employees are sending us screenshots of texts, forwarding voice mails or sending logins to the provider’s portals.  Others just aren’t able to get written results without going to the clinic or lab which they shouldn’t be doing if positive.  The good news is that for the most part, results hard copies are coming via email and can be forwarded.  

Best Read:

Everyone is asking when this will end and there really is no timeline.  But here’s an excellent read from Fortune about when we might see vaccines in the US which is a good predictor for when things will get back to some version of normal.

Experts share a clearer timeline of when most Americans will get COVID-19 vaccine

Best Laugh: 

This one needs no commentary.

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.