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COVID-19 Briefing - Friday, 10/30

Our roundup heading into the Halloween weekend...

Today's Recap:

  • CO, MA, ID, and TX have new restrictions for businesses, schools, and gatherings.
  • Over the last 72 hours, there’s been a trend of health departments going public when they determined that an employee worked while symptomatic. Usually these employees think they have a cold - but unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to tell a cold vs. COVID.
  • The US just surpassed 9,000,000 cases and set an all-time record for new cases yesterday. There are too many “hotspots” for us to highlight this week, as cases have reached record levels recently in more than 20 states.
  • Europe is also seeing a huge spike, with Germany and France both looking at month-long lockdowns to curb the spread.
  • Another superspreader wedding, this time in Long Island, led to 56 cases and nearly 300 quarantined.
  • Flu shots may help you fight COVID, according to a new study.  This is good news and a great way to encourage your employees and colleagues to get their flu shots!
  • Regeneron reported excellent findings from their antibody cocktail in cutting viral load.  
  • But some COVID-19 patients have antibodies that attack their body, rather than the virus
  • Autopsies are helping doctors figure out how COVID works and how to treat it.
  • Merck’s CEO told CNBC that a COVID vaccine will not be a silver bullet and we should expect mask usage for the foreseeable future (or longer).
  • Masks work! And make flying, shopping and other activities safer.
  • Your local grocery store may be more of a hotspot than we thought.

Best Questions:

Once a COVID vaccine is available, will we need to exclude vaccinated employees for close contact?

This is a fabulous question, and we really hope that the answer is no. There’s still a lot to be determined about vaccination, but our ideal outcome will be that each employee will have a record of being vaccinated and will not need to be excluded for close contact exposure during the time period that the vaccine provides protection. There are still a lot of unknowns - how long will the vaccine protect you? Will you need a booster, or will it be an annual vaccine like the flu? These are all still up in the air, and there are a lot of different vaccines in trial stages right now that each work differently.

If you’re interested in learning more, come to our webinar on Wednesday! Register below.

Can you give us the three top reasons we should be encouraging flu shots?

  1. You can have both flu and COVID.  When you ‘ve had a flu shot, it is much more likely to be COVID and then treated as such.
  2. The report outlined in the recap is just one of several that tell us that someone who has a flu shot may be less likely to get COVID.
  1. Even if you get the flu after having a flu shot (which is possible), your case will be milder and shorter.  

An employee was notified that some people on a team they bowled against tested positive. They were notified by the bowling alley but don't know any other details. Can they work?

Yes, they can work.  If the employee wasn’t notified by a public health organization, doesn’t know anyone that they were in close contact with that is COVID positive, and they haven’t specifically been told they should be quarantining, they can continue to work.  

Do we need to notify the public if we close due to one or more COVID positive employees?

Generally, no, though your local health department may take the question out of your hands.  Unless a contact tracer or health department tells you otherwise, in most cases your employees do not come into close contact (within 6ft for 15 or more minutes) with any of your guests in the course of a normal shift, and there’s not a clinical reason for disclosing your situation to the public. As always, we recommend running this decision past your legal and comms/PR folks as you make these decisions.

Beer pong party! They all shared cups and were at a party together for an extended period of time. Now at least two people are positive. Do they all need to be excluded and for how long?

Yes, they should be excluded and should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of the party or their latest contact with those who tested positive.  We were seeing fewer parties for a while, but COVID fatigue is real and there’s definitely been an uptick lately. And this weekend is Halloween, which scares us - but not in the traditional spooky way.

Best Read:

This is a great read about how the virus is spread and what makes someone a superspreader.

Why some people are superspreaders and how the body emits coronavirus

Best Laugh:

It’s Halloween, a full moon, and clocks fall back this weekend.  Now that’s scary!

ZHH is now offering a COVID testing solution!

Finding quick and reliable COVID testing has been challenging.  We now have an excellent COVID testing solution available nationally through our longtime partnership with LabCorp.  These are COVID-19 PCR tests and specimens are self-collected anywhere.  Turnaround time is running 48 hours or less from drop off.  We provide the physicians’ orders, test kits and handle results reporting.

If you're interested in more information, email us at!

Webinar Reminder!

Register today for our upcoming webinar:

COVID Vaccination: What Employers Need to Know

Wednesday, November 4th at 3:00pm EST

Register here!

Feel free to share with anyone on your team that might be interested.

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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.