Good question and one we brought to our primary lab partner, LabCorp, in a conference call earlier today. There are all kinds of new testing options on the horizon - but they are still only on the horizon. We expect to see many opening up in Q1 of 2021, including rapid saliva tests, at home PCR and antigen tests, and pooled testing. Pricing remains cost prohibitive for widespread testing. Employers are all looking for relief through vaccination and testing plans which are expected in the new year, though we’re not sure when. This link to the National Retail Federation’s state vaccination plans is a good tool for seeing how each state is prioritizing your workforce (see the “State Vaccination Plans” section).
State and local health departments are the governing body for public health guidelines. While the CDC may make recommendations, it is up to the state and local public health officials to determine what will be following locally. So we always recommend adhering to state or local health department guidance as long as it’s more cautious than our recommendations.
While there are still a few jurisdictions requiring negative tests to return an employee to work or student to school, the vast majority (including the CDC) are saying anyone who tests positive or experiences COVID symptoms should remain in isolation (and out of work or school) for ten full days, and can return once fever and other symptoms have improved. The CDC does not suggest re-testing.
Studies show that the viral load drops significantly after ten days to below the infectious level. It may still be at a detectable level, meaning you might still test positive even if you’re not infectious. That’s why the CDC and most state and local health departments don’t advise requiring a negative test to end self-isolation and return to normal life.
This can be confusing when we hear about sports teams requiring negative tests for return to the game. Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton’s negative test allowing him to drive in the last race of the season was international sports news. But the return to work post-COVID advice remains: employees who are fever free for at least 24 hours and with other symptoms improved can return to work after ten days and do NOT routinely require a negative test.
Good question and one of the most frequently asked questions this week. It seems that schools continue to require a full 14 day exclusion for close contact and their exclusion dates are being calculated with the school holiday breaks in mind. So if someone was exposed on the 7th and the 14 day exclusion has them out until the 21st and school holidays begin on the 23rd, they’re just excluding them through the 23rd. It doesn’t doesn’t make sense to bring them back for one day. We’re also finding that some kids are confused about their exclusion periods from their schools, and we sometimes ask them to share the email received from the school for clarification.
This question is one that we’re all considering at this point, especially given the polls showing that 40-50% of Americans wouldn’t take a vaccine when it first becomes available to them.
(and this one is really funny). Thanks to Emily Thompson of Red Robin who shared with us this amazing fruit cake...2020 Holiday Style.
Look closely and you’ll see this fruit cake is made with Emergen-C gummies and zinc drops. Only 2020 could bring us that...