Just a few minutes before we hit send on this, the FDA issued a warning stating that there may be false negatives due to the new variant. This is bad news.
They identified three specific COVID tests that are impacted because they test the specific part of the virus that has mutated. For the new strains from the UK and South Africa, there are 3 tests that are particularly affected by the mutations in those variants. (For those wondering, they are Accula SARS-Cov-2 Test, TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit, and Linea COVID-19 Assay Kit.
More info is sure to come out around this shortly, as this was just posted Friday night, but the FDA commissioner did mention that at this time, vaccines are still expected to be effective against these new variants.
Many people will not experience any side effects. Others will need to take 1 or 2 days off. It’s a good idea to avoid scheduling them the day of or day after if it’s an easy scheduling switch, but again, many people will be ready to work with no side effects at all.
Yes. We keep breaking our own records for the number of cases each week, and it’s more and more cut and dry positive cases or exposures. Here’s what you can do: get serious about ensuring that every single employee is filling out a survey at least 2 hours before work, every single shift they work. Keep track and hold managers accountable for ensuring employees can’t work without passing their wellness checks. Send sick employees home immediately. If you do all of those things, it will help to break the cycles of illness and reduce the overall exclusions, even if it will be painful in the short term.
Vaccine side effects don’t include respiratory symptoms and generally occur on day 1 or 2 after vaccination. They include low grade fever, headaches, chills or body aches. The employee does not need to be excluded. However, any respiratory symptoms or “side effects” beginning or worsening on day 3 or beyond should be considered possible COVID, and the employee should be excluded. We’ve been speaking with the CDC and various medical advisors looking for a definitive definition of post-vaccination low grade fever (for example, below 100.4°?) and don’t have an answer in writing. However, Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC (referenced earlier) states that would be a good benchmark and that most fevers during the vaccines’ clinical trials were below 100.4°F. This same exclusion guidance generally holds for vaccinated employees.
We hear you and agree, it is incredibly challenging and impossible to track. Many of you have asked if there is a central repository for this kind of information and, unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be one down to the local level. We had Suffolk County, NY insisting on 14 days when NYS adopted ten days weeks ago. Worcester, MA insisted that MA has a 2-day automatic closure when it’s been 1 day all along. A county in IN required negative tests to return to work (with no testing capacity in the area). A health department in VT suggested we needed to test all employees (and the nearest testing only available to symptomatic individuals with doctors orders was an hour away). We will always tell you that the local health department is in charge and your fate is in their hands. So be respectful, don’t be argumentative, give them the information they ask for in a timely manner, and understand that they, too, are extremely stressed and overworked now. Wish we had a better answer.
This has been the question of the week. The CDC says symptoms rule over exposure. This situation has more clarity if the employee tested positive. However, that is often not the case. We would not extend this employee’s exclusion. Also according to Dr. Messonnier, we’ve greatly mitigated the risk with the exclusion and we can’t mitigate all risk.
Early vaccination has been challenging, but it was supposed to be the easy part. Dr. Fauci and others sound optimistic, but it will require a lot of coordination to ramp up for the next phase.
This is not an ad for this orthodontics company, we promise, but we saw this online and it actually made us laugh out loud.