The CDC did add those symptoms to their symptom list this week, but we have no guidance directing us to ask specific questions about those symptoms on daily wellness checks. Loss of smell and taste are also symptoms of the common cold, and can often develop late in the illness. The CDC Business FAQs, updated on April 20th, suggest that employers screen for the major three symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath). At this point in time, we recommend sticking to those to keep it manageable.
This is a tough question, because in some places it may be too early to safely open. Most of you have good employee health procedures in place while you’re doing only curbside and delivery and refining and expanding as you go. The employees who are working now are familiar with them. But being sure you outline them clearly, both to those currently working and those returning will be key. Use of PPE, wellness checks, temperature checks and spreading out employees where you can are some of them. It’s all about communication, addressing and respecting fears, and providing good information. And following our new SOPS carefully. There’s no room for error.
There is no magic number. One client has had several cases, but one at a time over several weeks, and they have added up. However, there doesn’t appear to be a pattern of the employees working together and they’ve focused on not working sick, handwashing, employee screening and sanitizing. Another client has had three cases in the last 24 hours all of whom worked with a single person who tested positive a week ago. For the first client, remaining open seems reasonable, while the second client might consider closing - minimally for 24 hours to deep clean and take a closer look, but potentially for 7 days or longer to break the cycle of illness.
We asked the CDC for additional guidance on this day’s ago and received a response today - which doesn't necessarily give us a clear direction. We’re concerned about the high rate of positives among health care workers. The guidance said if a HCW had known exposure without PPE, they should be excluded for 14 days. If a HCW tests positive, they should be excluded. But if a HCW is wearing PPE in the health care job and screened and masked in our jobs, they did not specifically recommend exclusion. When we asked the question, everyone wasn’t masked like they are now.
Scientists can trace the genetic code of the virus to see that it’s actually spread a lot farther and faster than we would have expected. This is interesting when we pair with the reports that general population antibody testing in LA and Santa Clara counties in California have much higher rates of antibodies than we thought - this thing moves fast!
Okay, not exactly a laugh, but the NY Times takes a look why we’re looking for humor now and what COVID humor is acceptable...
…And because it’s hump day, here’s our current favorite coronavirus meme to get you through the back half of the week: Corona Lisa