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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Wednesday 4/1

Masks, gloves, employee temperatures - what precautions are necessary and realistic?

Today’s Recap:

  • Thermometers and masks remain the topics of the day.  Many large employers are trying to source both in anticipation of their being required, but early this afternoon the Surgeon General said masks should not be worn by healthy people.  However, the debate continues.  According to Dr. Art Liang at the CDC just last night, “CDC guidance on masks has not changed, however CDC is always reviewing data and relevant information to make informed decisions.”
  • Arizona joined the list of states with stay at home orders and essential employees working only (through April 30th).  Gov. Ducey encouraged restaurants to remain open for takeout and delivery and encouraged patrons to frequent them.
  • The USDA is working to identify critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitization needs in the food supply chain.  They’ve asked for food supply organizations to communicate specific quantities of PPE that would be required in 30 days.  Their spreadsheet is attached but you can also just email your response to with the subject line “(Your organization name) PPE/Sanitization.  Deadline extended through Thursday  (4/2).
  • The CDC updated their guidelines re: persons exposed to suspected or confirmed COVID patients.  The current guidelines now suggest that the high risk time-frame began 48 hours before the symptoms began.  This means anybody who was exposed to a patient should follow the fourteen day quarantine, but this may now include individuals who were exposed before the patient became symptomatic.   
  • Bad weather in the Northwest (wind and then snow) hampered COVID testing and response but probably encouraged staying at home. 

Your Best Questions of the Day:

  1. An employee got sick overnight.  Should I send them to be tested?

No.  Healthcare providers recommendations will be the same, whether you test positive or not. And the tests, still in short supply, are best reserved for healthcare workers and those sick enough to need hospitalization or medical care.   Your employees medical provider will let them know if they need to seek testing or other medical care. 

  1. Guests keep asking why cashiers aren’t gloved.  Should they be?  And how do we best explain this?

Gloves are confusing and often provide a false sense of security to both employees and guests.  The correct procedure is to wash hands between glove changes, which usually isn’t possible at a cash register or a drive-through.  

Employees who are only handling money and bags can use hand sanitizer between each guest. This generally works well, and employees tend to be more thoughtful about touching their face and remembering to sanitize between each transaction when they’re not wearing gloves.

If you do choose to have employees wear gloves, make sure to train them on proper sanitization, remind them not to touch their face, and don’t forget to make hand sanitizer available at the counter where they’ll be handling money and bags. If cashiers aren’t gloved, guests may be asking why.  Preparing them with a solid explanation about how gloves require hand washing which isn’t available but sanitizer is may help.  Some restaurants and other organizations are allowing optional glove use where gloves were not used before this.

  1. Does the 7 day return-to-work minimum count begin on the day a lab result was reported, or the day the person became sick?

Return to work is minimally seven days after onset of symptoms, but the person must also have their other symptoms improve and be fever free for at least three days without fever-reducing medication like Tylenol.  


Best Read of the Day:  

Today, many of you are discussing meal donations to healthcare workers, meal prep in “surge” hospitals, and PPE for volunteering.  This story about restaurants delivering donated meals to hospitals shows the best in us.  

Without Diners, NYC Restaurants Pivot to Feeding Hospital Workers

And in most amusing and rather understandable COVID story of the day:

The woman with the largest following on social media in England right now while quarantined is reaching out to her ex-boyfriends to ask why they broke up with her and then tweeting their responses.  It is hilarious and even the Queen supposedly made a reference to it.   And apparently reaching out to ex boyfriends, lovers, etc. is a COVID thing.

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