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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Thursday 3.26

Breaking the cycle, wearing masks, and even more employee illness.

 Today's recap

  • Loss of smell or taste were early (and sometimes only) symptoms according to a British study of 2000 patients who tested positive in South Korea.  30% of all cases reported loss of smell or taste and all were mild cases. However, that is also a common symptom for the common cold… so these reports may not be reliable or actionable. 
  • Restaurants Canada has a great tracker for regulations and prevention measures by jurisdiction. All provinces require dining rooms to close and allow for takeout or delivery only, with the exceptions of Saskatchewan and Alberta which require 50% capacity reduction and social distancing measures. All Western Canadian provinces now allow alcohol delivery, as well. 
  • Several state health departments have contacted some employers about excluding co-workers when one employee tested positive.   This differs from most recent CDC guidance. The lag time in their contact makes this a frustrating exercise (12+ days after last day worked in several cases).
  • Employee illnesses are skyrocketing.  More testing is taking place and surprisingly, some asymptomatic employees are getting tested (and testing positive).  


Best questions of the day:

Is pregnancy considered a risk factor for COVID-19?

According to the WHO, it doesn’t appear that pregnancy is a high risk factor, though it is still being researched. Still, pregnant women can be more susceptible to respiratory diseases, so they should definitely take precautions against contracting the Coronavirus and reach out to their medical provider if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms.  "The good news is that thus far there hasn't been any indication that pregnant women are more severely affected" says Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory Healthcare and a senior author of a prepress review paper slated to publish in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.


We’re getting a new round of employee requests to wear masks while working.  Have other employers changed their position on banning masks while serving customers or guests?

We took a quick survey of our larger clients this morning and no one is allowing employees to wear masks while serving guests or customers.  And… there is no clinical recommendation for healthy individuals to wear masks.  They’re still in very short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers and sick patients.


Our employees take breaks together and gather during downtime.  How do we encourage them to practice social distancing even when work settings sometimes preclude that kind of distancing while working?

Great question and an important one…. We don’t always have work settings that allow people to work six feet apart.  If you can manage your operation to promote that 6 ft distancing, that would be an important first step.  But also please be sure to remind employees that the risks they take by being close to others has a cascading effect for impacting everyone they come into contact with.


What can we do to help break the illness cycle?

  • Consider doing a full Sanitizing twice a week discarding prepped food isn’t necessary. Find a COVID-19 Sanitizing Punchlist in the Zedic App.
  • Implement daily symptom surveys or wellness checks
  • Make sure everyone knows not to come in to work sick
  • Maintain laser focus on hand washing.


Best Listen of the Day:

Why the Coronavirus is So Good at Spreading


And billed as the comedy routine America needs right now, if you haven’t seen or heard about the sibling rivalry playing out on CNN between NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and his brother, CNN’s own Chris Cuomo - take a minute to read or watch this.


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