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COVID-19 Briefing - Friday, July 10th

Case counts continue to set new records, especially with young populations aged 18-49.

Reminder: Exclusion Chart Updates

We’ve made some minor tweaks and fixed a few things on the exclusion chart this week. Here’s the link:  See the full chart here, new changes are highlighted in yellow. 

Today’s Recap:

  • Case counts continue to surge across the West and South...
  • The NY Times reports that Latinx and Black people in the U.S. have been about 3x as likely to contract COVID-19 compared to white people, and about 2x as likely to die.
  • The FDA warned that as many as 3% of positive PCR results for COVID-19 on Becton, Dickinson and Co.'s BD Max System were false positives.
  • In Nevada, less than 50% of businesses followed rules on wearing face coverings and social distancing, according to CNBC.
  • And this might not be the only pandemic we see in our lifetimes…the UN is predicting that more diseases will spread from animals to humans due to habitat loss.

Best Questions of the Day:

My employee has a positive COVID antibody test.  Do they still need daily wellness checks and/or exclusion for symptoms or close contact?

Great question! The NYS DOH and the CDC both say yes - we don’t know what antibodies mean, we don’t know how long they last, and we don’t know someone can’t get COVID twice.  So although we’re optimistic that someone with COVID antibodies has a lesser likelihood to become sick, their guidance is that we continue to screen and exclude like any other employee. 

Why don’t we exclude an employee if their roommate or family member is excluded for 14 days due to close contact?

We are not excluding employees for “secondhand” exclusions at this time. If they didn’t come into contact with a person who is sick or confirmed positive, they may continue to work. If the person that the employee was in direct close contact with develops COVID symptoms or tests positive, then the employee might be excluded at that point. Until then, no action except to reiterate to the employee that it is incredibly important that they let us know if their friend/family member/roommate gets sick or tests positive. And that in the meantime they monitor themselves for symptoms, stay home when sick, wear a mask at work, and wash their hands frequently. 

Are you going to make additional recommendations about this new data around aerosolization of the virus? 

Great question, and the answer is: we’re not sure yet. This does potentially mean that it’s more important than we had previously thought to ensure good ventilation indoors. It might mean increasing your ventilation capacity, mandating that doors are kept open whenever and wherever possible, and possible adding filtration systems.The CDC hasn’t issued formal guidance yet, but we’re working with them and with our team to keep up to date on what businesses should be doing. 

If someone meets the symptom-based criteria to return to work, but they test positive again, should we keep them out? 

Short answer, no. If someone is at least 10 days from symptom onset, they have no fever and haven’t taken fever-reducing meds for the past 3 days, and their respiratory symptoms are resolved, they are extremely unlikely to be infectious, even if they are still testing positive. We base their ability to end self-isolation and return to work on those criteria because they may test positive for weeks after they’re no longer infectious.

My employee had symptoms ten days ago, was tested, is 100% better now, but still doesn’t have their test results back.  Do I need to keep them out until their test comes back?

No.  Whether or not they tested positive doesn’t matter if it has been 10 days, including three days fever free without fever-reducing meds and their respiratory symptoms are resolved.  The CDC has again stated that anyone who wasn’t sick enough to require hospitalization is no longer infectious after ten days from onset of symptoms. 

Best Read of the Day: 

We always like Wired’s coverage and this is an especially good read - three months later and they went back to visit again with Larry Brilliant. 

Larry Brilliant on How Well We Are Fighting Covid-19

Best Laugh of the Day:

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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.