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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Thursday 4/2

Pink Eye & diarrhea as possible symptoms (fun!), and more...

Today’s Recap:

  • The FDA released guidance allowing chain restaurants and other retail food service organizations temporary flexibility in the requirements to provide nutrition information and / or calories on menus, menu boards and websites. This is to allow for new menu items, and varying vendors due to supply interruptions.
  • There are increasing reports that there may be a high false negative rate on COVID tests.  In China, the false negative rate may have been as high as 30%.  Early indications are that the false negative rate in the US is lower than that, but still significant. Clinical guidance is to consider and quarantine as if it were COVID for COVID symptoms even if a test is negative.
  • There’s excellent COVID research happening in real time.  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created an app that can detect COVID-19 simply by listening to you cough and how you speak.    And Johnson & Johnson’s Chief Scientist reports they expect to have a vaccine ready for trials within the next few months.
  • Gov DeSantis of FL finally declared a statewide stay at home order and said they now believe Coronavirus started circulating in Florida at the time of the Super Bowl.  
  • Pink Eye now appears to be a possible side effect of a small percentage (1-3%) of patients with COVID.  We weren’t surprised to hear this because you’ve been asking us questions about Pink Eye for days.  The rate may actually be higher among those who aren’t being tested. 

Your Best Questions of the Day:

1. If an employee was excluded for fourteen days because a family member tested positive and then becomes sick, can their work exclusion be shorter?

Yes - We just had a good example of this.  The employee was excluded for fourteen days yesterday (3/31) and today is symptomatic.  She is a presumed positive and is now excluded for 7 days minimum, that must include 3 days fever free without Tylenol and other symptoms improving.  So she may be back to work a few days sooner. 

2. If I don’t have any other sanitizer, can I use bleach for COVID sanitizing at work or at home?

Yes.  The EPA has a lengthy list of approved sanitizers, but you can also use fresh (unexpired), preferably unscented bleach in a very mild solution. To make a bleach solution, mix 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

3. Are there jurisdictions requiring us to ask about diarrhea as a symptom?

Yes.  There are increasing reports of diarrhea in some COVID patients.  However, it is rarely an only symptom and is also associated with so many other illnesses.  We don’t suggest asking everyone about it but do need to pay attention to where symptom surveys are required and it is on their symptom list.

4. If we find out about an employee’s potential COVID diagnosis several days after they last worked, do we still need to do COVID sanitizing?
Yes.  Although COVID-19 is not very stable on surfaces and is primarily transmitted person to person, sanitizing is a key component in breaking any illness cycle.  We’ve all seen the reports about how long it can live on surfaces and there’s so much we don’t know about this virus.  So cleaning and sanitizing remains one of the critical tools in our tool kit to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can.

5.  A vendor just reported to us that a driver who made a delivery tested positive (this was the question of the day - came up half a dozen times minimally).  What do we need to do?

Notify the employees who came into direct contact with that driver so they can monitor for symptoms. No other action necessary at this time.

Best Read of the Day:  

This is not necessarily the best read of the day, but worth reading about how the media is pressuring restaurants, groceries and even service personnel and utilities (like cable providers) to release the locations where someone tested positive - even though no action is required.

Questions Over Public’s Right to Know Locations Where Restaurant Workers Tested Positive


And most entertaining….  

They say Shakespeare wrote King Lear during his quarantine for the Plague. We’re on Day 14 and the most productive thing we’ve done is binge watch five full TV shows.

What Shakespeare Actually Did During the Plague


Keep the questions coming and get some rest.


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