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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Friday, 5/15

Today’s Recap:

  • A new report shows that the rapid COVID screens from Abbott, like those being done in the White House, may have a 50% false negative rate 
  • We’ve heard a lot about people who test positive who are asymptomatic, and people who are mildly sick, and of course, those who become very ill or die, but we hadn’t heard much about people whose illness and symptoms linger until recently.  Even patients with mild cases are describing persistent fatigue, shortness of breath and on-going cardiac issues weeks later. 
  • Several clients conducted informal surveys of guest or client practices in newly reopened restaurants and retail stores in several markets and found up to to 70% of dining room guests and 50% of retail customers were not masked.
  • "We're the Wild West," said Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers after bars and restaurants filled with people following a state Supreme Court decision ending his stay-at-home order, per the Washington Post.
  • CVS said it's opening 50 drive-through testing sites in five states, and up to 1,000 across the country by the end of May.

Best Questions of the Day:

We have LOTS of employees with headaches. They say it’s migraines, stress, etc. But we also know headaches are a COVID symptom listed by the CDC. What should we do? 

Headaches are a tough one - they are extremely common (and with high levels of anxiety during the pandemic, perhaps even more common than ever). Our recommendation for best clinical practice is to exclude an employee with a headache for the rest of the day - especially if they’ve taken Tylenol or some other fever reducing medication that could mask other symptoms of COVID.  You (and we) are definitely struggling with headache issues.  But it is a common first symptom of COVID so we want to be thoughtful and conservative how we handle headaches.

What is the temperature cutoff you’re recommending where employee temperatures are being taken?

As many of you now know, Dade County introduced their own regulations yesterday with a temp cutoff off of 99.5°F.  Where that came from we haven’t a clue.  That is very low  and especially in Miami in summer.  But we’re seeing various jurisdictions introducing their own very specific measures.  We continue to recommend following 100.0 F in order to meet most jurisdictions’ cut offs.

When someone has a new cough, do we exclude them even if they have a doctor’s note?

Again, a tough question and one that needs further clinical evaluation.  This scenario has come up several times in the last few days.  It is difficult to differentiate between an allergy cough and a new COVID cough.  We are hesitant to accept a drs note from an urgent care center or a telemedicine visit vs. a primary care physician (who knows the patient)  where the person’s allergy history is unknown.  Sometimes the prudent decision is to kick the can down the road by one or two days to see if allergy medication resolves it. 

Should employees who don’t live together be commuting to work together by car?

No.  We were surprised when we learned people were commuting together over the last few days and first  found out about it the hard way when conducting a risk assessment after an employee tested positive.  Although they likely didn’t work together within six feet for more than 30 minutes, they were in a car together (and we later learned unmasked) for 30 minutes each way to work daily. 

Employees should only be carpooling together if they are family members who live together or roommates. We know this can be a challenge, but if at all possible, you should be discouraging them 

Best Listen of the Day:

University of Minnesota’s CIDRAP hosts an infectious disease podcast. We recommend the most recent episode

CIDRAP Podcast Episode 8: Raring to Reopen

Best Laugh(s) of the Day:

Today the world provided so many bizarre and hilarious stories that we couldn’t pick which one to include…

Making Socially Distanced Dining a Little Less Awkward...?

But what about this horde of goats loose in East San Jose? 

So, have them both… we could all use a good laugh….

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