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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Thursday, 5/21

Contact tracing 101 & new CDC guidelines for restaurants and bars

Today’s Recap:


  • And we’re off and running with Contact Tracing.  Many of you have had calls  from health depts. Informing you of positives as part of  their contact tracing.  As we knew would happen, there are varying degrees of experience and clinical knowledge.  The emerging pattern of asking about close contact for 15 min (vs 30) continued today as well.  Be sure to check out our Contact Tracing Action Plan.

  • Once again today, your positives are focused in states that are openingGA, NC, TN and WI. And another pattern showing up particularly in these states - employees working with symptoms and managers’ downplaying or disregarding employees’ reports of what they deemed minor symptoms.

  • All 50 states have begun to reopen to some degree with wide discrepancies on how and when to do so and what is required for assuring employee health.  Whether or not it is required, we strongly, strongly recommend daily employee wellness checks - every day, every employee.

  • The CDC released considerations for Restaurants and Bars along with considerations for other business types.  Here’s a link.

Best Questions of the Day:

What would a vendor/supplier wellness check look like? 

This one could be hard to automate in the way that you’re able to do with your employees. For now, we recommend a paper symptom survey. If you have a consistent, regular vendor or delivery driver, you might be able to ask them to complete your electronic daily wellness check (for example if you do those through ZHH or Zedic).


An employee has no symptoms and lives with a family member who was with someone this past weekend who just tested positive.  Neither the employee nor family member has symptoms. Do I exclude?

No.  At this time, we are not excluding “second-hand” exposure. If the family member were to develop symptoms, we’d 


What should our own contract tracing process look like?

When an employee either tests positive or is diagnosed as a presumed positive by a doctor, you’re going to need to identify whomever worked within 6 feet for thirty minutes or more from either two days prior to their symptoms, or from the day of their test if they were asymptomatic, and exclude them for fourteen days.  Here’s a link to our Contact Tracing Action Plan.

Is exposure 30 minutes (or 15 minutes) continuously or cumulatively?

This truly was the question of the day - we’ve probably had it hourly today.  The answer, unfortunately, is 30 minutes cumulatively during a shift, according to Dr. Art Liang of the CDC.  For those jurisdictions that are defining contact as 10 minutes or 15 minutes, it is also cumulative contact time and not uninterrupted contact time. So, if an employee spends 5 minutes chatting with a manager 6 times throughout a shift, that will still count as 30 mins of close contact. 


My employee dropped off food at their grandmother’s house who is ill with COVID.  They didn’t go inside and remained outside the front door.  Do I need to exclude them?

Assuming they remained outside and were masked and stayed several feet away, the answer is that there is no need to exclude this employee from work.

I overheard an employee asking coworkers for Tylenol mid-shift.  They’d already completed a wellness check and said no to every question.  How should I handle this?

Great question.  Absolutely, you should ask the employee how they are feeling and what symptoms they have that they need Tylenol. It’s possible that they filled out their wellness check honestly and accurately (for example, menstrual cramps might be a perfectly good reason to take Tylenol and don’t require reporting on the form). But it’s also possible that they’ve started to feel ill during the shift, in which case you can and should send them home. 


Best Read of the Day:


You already know we think Dr. Mike Osterholm and CIDRAP from University of Minnesota are some of the best info resources. Their new report on COVID testing is a must read.

CIDRAP COVID-19 Viewpoint

Best Laugh of the Day:

So we’re hearing almost as much as haircuts (or the lackthereof) than we are about reopenings.  This made us LOL.





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