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COVID-19 Briefing - 8/5

A new phase, more info on antibodies, and parties galore....
  • The Salmonella outbreak appears to be linked to red onions although the recall is now broader and includes other onions processed alongside them, according to the CDC. It has sickened a total of 396 people from 34 states, including 59 people who have been hospitalized.

  • Parties, parties and more parties.  Many of you continuing to struggle with employee gatherings outside of work, resulting in large numbers of exclusions (and illness).

Best Questions:

If an employee tests positive for COVID, do they need to be excluded for close contact in the future, or do they have “immunity”? 

Not during the first 90 days after they recover. However, the CDC is expected to issue additional guidance on this subject soon, as we learn more about how long antibodies remain and the protection they provide. We expect that we’ll likely have a window of time (right now many state and local health departments are using 90 days) that someone is considered to be unable to be reinfected, and then after that window, they’ll be considered able to be infected and will need to be excluded for symptoms or exposure moving forward. 


An employee is dating someone with symptoms. They don’t live together, but spend the night together regularly. Will we need to exclude the employee even though the significant other isn’t confirmed positive yet?

Yes. We recommend excluding someone for contact with a symptomatic person when they live together, are in an intimate relationship, or if they are the caretaker for the sick person. For all others, we only recommend a 14-day exclusion for close contact if the person is actually confirmed COVID+ and they were within 6ft for 15 or more consecutive minutes. 

An employee swears they have sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc. rather than COVID. They can provide a Dr.’s note returning them to work. Can they work?

Short answer, no. If an employee has cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, congestion, or other COVID-like symptoms, they can’t work until after those symptoms have resolved. This should be handled on a case by case basis, but in most cases we recommend keeping them out the full 10 days if they have COVID-like symptoms because of the high rate of false negative test results, the wide community spread of COVID across the US, and, frankly, because if it looks and acts like COVID, let’s assume it’s COVID…

My employee is currently taking an antibiotic.  Do I need to exclude them because it might mask a fever?

No, they don’t need to be excluded because they are taking an antibiotic.  The CDC’s guidelines are very specific - and direct us to exclude someone who experienced COVID-like symptoms or was diagnosed with COVID until fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.  Fever reducers typically include Tylenol, Advil and other similar OTC pain relievers.  Antibiotics are given for many reasons (some of which we can’t ask about).  We are not excluding employees because they are on antibiotics for other medical conditions.

There are pictures of a party on social media with many of our employees clearly visible. How do I know if someone at that party tested positive?

Great question and one that has come up several times in the last few days.  Unfortunately, the best way to find out is to continue to monitor social media.  Often, those same party-goers will post that info.  But otherwise, it is difficult to get that information.  It does provide an opportunity to speak with your team and make it clear that their out of work activities may exclude them from work, andimpact the business and their livelihoods if they get sick or get others sick. 

Best Read:

Lockdowns and supply-chain disruptions threaten progress against Tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria. These diseases kill millions each year worldwide, and treatment progress may have been set back 20  years, according to one estimate. 

‘The Biggest Monster’ Is Spreading. And It’s Not the Coronavirus.

Best Laugh:

The book that captures the moment...

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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.