Dr. Deborah Birx made some waves when a White House Task Force report mentioned an unfounded claim of a new variant in the US responsible for the rapid spread here. CDC confirms there is no evidence of a US variant.
Meanwhile the US will require negative tests for international passengers arriving by airplane. Passengers must be tested within 3 days before their flight and provide test results or proof of having recovered from COVID, but proof of vaccination will not be sufficient since you can still spread the virus after getting the vaccine.
We’ve been saying all along that negative tests don’t mean much. Here’s an example of why: rapid testing at University of Wisconsin missed nearly 60% of asymptomatic cases and 20% of symptomatic cases, too.
We have an employee who hasn’t worked for the last five days and now has COVID. Do I still need to do a full COVID Sanitizing?
Yes. CDC says if the person was in the facility within the last seven days, it should be cleaned. Here’s a link to the CDC guidance on this. Again, this doesn’t quite match up with the science which shows that COVID is primarily passed through airborne droplets, but it can’t hurt, and it’s often a good way to shore up morale with concerned co-workers or customers.
Has anyone found a central repository of essential worker vaccination scheduling information?
Unfortunately no. If you have, please let us know. Everyone is struggling with this issue. And it is changing daily (or even more often). As an example, NY changed which groups were in Phase 1B twice inside of 48 hours. It can be hard to track within a single state when they change that often, let alone across multiple. Hang in there!
Are my employees going to need help scheduling their vaccines?
Yes! It’s complicated - even for us when we have used scheduling systems in several states. And finding a site with vaccination appointments available can be challenging and frustrating. You should be prepared for site-level and/or regional managers to be prepared to help out.
We are starting to see some more people faking results, especially positive ones. Is that something you’re seeing?
Yes, we’re seeing more of this. Generally, we see it in clients who pay different amounts for those confirmed COVID versus those with symptoms or exposure, where employees fake positive documentation to get their sick pay. One super tricky thing we’ve started to see is someone backdating their real positive test, to a few days earlier, to try to get back to work sooner. We also see the occasional faked negative result, usually in an ill-informed attempt to get back to work sooner even though we never recommend returning someone based on negative tests. For those of you struggling with this, the tough answer is probably to take a good look at your sick pay policy and see whether there’s anything you can do
This Vox article is a tough read, but really powerful. Did you know that if the US had the same death rate as Canada, nearly 225,000 Americans who died of Covid-19 would likely still be alive?