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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Wednesday, 4/8

Interpreting the new definition of "close contact" in a foodservice setting, resources to help you keep track of state by state regulations, and more.

Today’s Recap:

  • Some resources to keep track of state laws and regulations related to COVID. Please note these are not official trackers (they don't exist!) and you will still need to closely monitor state associations and local news to find the most up to date information on the jurisdictions. 

  • Managers working sick was the theme of the day, resulting in the 14 day exclusion of a large number of employees whom they came into close contact with.  Nearly all worked after being symptomatic and tested (before results came back).

  • Hot spots for positive COVID tests included Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and Massachusetts.

  • Employees are expressing concern about coming to work. It is critically  important that managers, regional managers and senior leadership can clearly articulate the protections that have been put in place, and share the guidance and counsel they are receiving (from us, local and state health departments and the CDC) to minimize risk and to make it safe to work.  The fear at all levels is real and acknowledging it is helpful.

  • Validating positive COVID tests remains challenging.  Employees sometimes don’t know how or where to get copies or even who called them with the result.  There are some basic questions you might consider asking to ensure that the test was done and positive.  They include: where were you tested, how was the testing process, how long did they say results would take vs how long they took, who called you with the results?

Best Questions of the Day:

Which states are mandating face masks for workers? 

The CDC’s newest recommendation is that everyone wears masks in public. Certain states and local jurisdictions are going farther and requiring masks, gloves, or both for all essential workers, including food service. Unfortunately, there’s no central resource to keep track of it all, so it’s important that each site manager knows their own state and county health department’s requirements. 

Given the new CDC guidance about excluding coworkers who worked within 6ft of a sick employee for 30+ mins, how do we maintain employee privacy and comply with the ADA while also excluding those employees?

It’s really important when we are excluding employees that we don’t identify the person who is sick. Employees may figure it out on their own or talk to each other about it, but it’s crucial that management is not identifying the sick employee. 

Consider using the schedule to find out who worked with the sick employee, or asking employees who they worked next to on the line, rather than identifying the sick employee. 

With the changing guidelines on exposure by the CDC, do we need to revisit prior guidance on medical personnel who are also working at our business? Previously, we were not excluding anyone that didn't have symptoms or an enhanced risk like being coughed on. Should we be using a stricter standard?

We want to let these people keep working as long as they can. We are seeking additional guidance from the CDC on this matter and will keep you all updated as we get more info from them.  

What is the cutoff temperature if we’re asking employees about fevers?

For now, to be on the cautious side, assume anything over 100°F is a fever. Yesterday, Dr. Jay Butler answered this question on a CDC call, and explained that 98.6 is actually an average temperature. Anything in the mid to high 90s is a normal temperature for a healthy person. Some jurisdictions are saying 100.4 but what’s most important to know is if someone’s temperature is trending upwards.  If an employee had a temperature of 98.6 one day and 99.9 on the following day, sending them home would be prudent. 

Best Read/Listen of the Day:

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what re-opening will look like.  We don’t really know, but this is a good article from the NY Times on what the benchmarks might be.

Best laugh of the day:  


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