Make sure your employees know they need to be completely honest on wellness checks, and that they won’t be penalized for being sick, having symptoms, or having been in contact with someone who is positive. Some employees are concerned about not being paid, or losing their job, or think they’ll be penalized in some way for telling the truth about their symptoms. The best defense we have is keeping employees from working sick or when they might be incubating COVID - including managers.
Currently, the tri-state area of NY, NJ, and CT have a required 14-day quarantine from the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. This list is being changed by state governors regularly, so be sure to check their websites before you travel or clear anyone to travel. And remember that we’re still not recommending any non-critical travel.
Great question. Based on the best info we have from the CDC, we do not think that they’d need to quarantine after recovery. But it’s worth noting that NYS is actually enforcing quarantines and sometimes giving court orders to stay home. So I would tell this person to keep a copy of their earlier positive lab result and maybe a doctor's note available, just in case.
Yes. The CDC guidelines for ending self-isolation and returning to work now specifically require respiratory symptoms to be resolved. We know that we’re seeing long tail ends of recovery for other symptoms like loss of taste or smell. If loss of taste and/or smell is the only lingering symptom and the employee meets the CDC criteria for ending self-isolation, they can return to work.
You only need to notify employees if there was a true exposure. So if the employee hasn’t worked for a week and got sick four days ago, then there is no need to notify employees because the sick employee wasn’t there on the day they got sick, nor the two days prior when they are most infectious.
If they got sick on their first day off, then you need to go back two days to determine exposure and need to notify everyone in the store.
No - tests are hard to get, expensive, slow and unreliable….We are finding that as COVID surges, testing is hard to get if you’re not actively sick, appointments for testing may be days out (today, the earliest appointments were 11 days from now in some surging states) and turnaround time is getting longer and longer.
Last but not least, testing reliability is really poor and also deteriorating. The rapid tests have up to a 50% false negative rate. Even the best lab tests have up to a 30% false negative rate. And today, one of our vendors stopped doing rapid tests because 47 of the Positive Rapid Test specimens they sent on to Quest for confirmation turned out to be false positives, according to Quest.
Please note that there are a few jurisdictions which require negative test results for ending self-isolation, and there, you’ll have no choice (and the health dept will advise the employee and restaurant accordingly).
We advise against requiring a negative test or two consecutive negative tests to return to work. It isn’t clinically necessary.
Here’s the science behind it: the viral load is highest on two days prior to onset of symptoms and first day of symptoms and then drops each consecutive day. By day 10, the viral load has dropped to below a level that will infect others (although it may still be detectable which could still produce a positive result). Although clinically insignificant, some people are testing positive 30-45 days later, while there is no reason to keep them out of work that long .
As we head into the holiday weekend, we wanted to share this LA Times article from earlier this week, which highlights how Memorial Day was the time that California’s handling of Coronavirus went from success to downhill slide. Please emphasize to your employees, your managers, your families, and your friends that this weekend has the potential to be extremely deadly if people don’t do proper social distancing.
As we head into Month 4, we’re starting to really wish we’d gotten that haircut back in February.