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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Thursday, 5/14

Today’s Recap:


  • Several states added new guidance yesterday (AK, GA, NY, WA and VA were some) .  It remains confusing, evolving and hard to keep track of.  An example:  Arkansas added very specific guidance about guests being masked - including that guests are to remain masked until food arrives, and then must put it back on when finished - but no guidance on who or how to enforce that. 
  • Some rural counties are seeing major flare ups of COVID-19 - with 1000% increases in cases
  • Crime scene cleaners are doubling as COVID cleanup specialists, according to a new WSJ article. While we still don’t routinely recommend using an outside cleaning service to clean your facilities post-COVID (your people know your operation better than anyone else!), we have made referrals to Aftermath, featured in the article, for bloodborne pathogen cleanup in the past.
  • We’re hearing more about Kawasaki Disease and kids with COVID that we didn’t hear a lot about early on.  The blotchy rash has frequently gone undiagnosed as either Kawasaki or related to COVID.  The new reports about this are concerning.
  • Several states have enacted legislation which makes employees who have tested positive eligible for Workers’ Compensation without a source of exposure identified.  This is a rapidly changing situation.  Here’s one resource to see current status by state.
  • Many counties are requiring guests to wear masks but who or how to enforce that is up in the air.  In Dallas, some restaurants and stores are placing paper masks near the front door and showing customers where they are.  

Best Questions of the Day:

Employee Temp Checks are “recommended” in South Carolina.  Should we be doing them?

This is a judgment call for your team. We still think that temperature checks are very problematic. They’re not very effective at sussing out COVID (only about 30% of hospitalized COVID patients even had fever), they expose the person taking temps to higher risk, and they’re just not very accurate, especially as we head into warmer weather. 

BUT, we also know that the issue of reopening is one of optics and trust for customers and employees. Temperature checks are a good way to remind employees that it’s not okay to work sick, and to show your employees and customers what you’re doing to keep them safe.

An employee is working another job in a treatment facility where half the residents have tested positive and are not wearing PPE.  Should we allow them to work for us or consider them high risk exposures and exclude them?

Although we try very hard to support healthcare workers and other essential workers who are caring for COVID patients and not penalize them by excluding them from work in second jobs, this is a scenario where the risk is extraordinarily high.  We would exclude them for at least fourteen days and likely longer (which might need an FMLA or other leave). 

An employee’s symptoms started on Monday, they got tested 3 days later. Does their 10 day exclusion start again from the time they get their positive result? 

This can be a tough call, and may depend on whether they currently have symptoms. The most conservative route is to restart the clock and keep them out 10 days from the positive result, especially if they still have symptoms. This is also what you’ll have to do if they are asymptomatic. But in many areas, it can still take a few days to get the test and another few to get the results, so if their symptoms are improving by the time they get the results, you should be okay to count 10 days from when their symptoms started.

Can we have employee meetings for training before reopening?

Really good question and the answer is yes.  But please use it as an opportunity to practice wearing masks and following proper social distancing.  We have heard some war stories today about pics getting on social media of training and opening prep without masks or social distancing. That’s not a story you want to be part of...


Best Read of the Day:

Vaccine readiness is going to be key to truly moving forward.  Here’s an excellent recap on where we are and where we need to go for a vaccine to be ready.

Coronavirus vaccine: When will it be ready? Everything we know so far

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