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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Wednesday, 5/13

Today’s Recap:

  • A new study showed that 65% of those who tested positive (vs 21% who tested negative) for COVID reported a loss of sense of smell or taste.  
  • A new report from the CDC shows that Coronavirus spreads VERY easily and has “superspreading events.” When one person attended a 2.5 hour choir practice while sick, 87% of the choir contracted the virus. In hard numbers, there were 61 total people. 53 got sick, 3 were hospitalized, and 2 died. This extremely fast spread is why it’s important to continue to practice social distancing and avoid large group gatherings. 
  • While many small-business owners say they are quickly running out of money, their main concern about reopening is employee safety, according to Inc.
  • We had serious hot spots in VA and IL today. And new cases in AK, IA, MN, SD, SC and TX.
  • CIDRAP confirmed today that there’s “exactly zero” evidence that Coronavirus was developed in a lab. It’s almost certainly derived in nature, despite many internet conspiracy theories.
  • There’s lots of talk lately about how COVID survivors’ plasma is now sought-after in researching antibodies and possibly helping current COVID patients recover through transfusions. In some hopeful news, 12,000+ COVID survivors have donated units of plasma.  Only those with lab confirmed positives can donate.

Best Questions of the Day:

Do we need to be concerned about how a sick employee gets home if they become ill while at work?

Yes. As soon as they start to show symptoms, get them separated from the rest of the staff (including the manager) ASAP - consider putting them in the manager's office or any other separate space. If they drove themselves to work and are well enough to drive home, that’s great. If they carpooled with another employee, do not let that employee drive them home unless they already live together - otherwise the driver will have to be excluded for 14 days. If a family member or roommate can come pick them up, that’s best. If they require immediate medical attention and can’t drive home, call 911. 

How long should we wait before retaking someone’s temperature who tested higher than 100.4? 

We know that it’s hot out, and we have had some misleading temps from folks coming in out of the hot weather. If you’re conducting on-site temperature checks, take an employee’s temp twice in a row to confirm the temp. Then ask them to step aside (out of the hot sun, if you’re in a place that’s warming up as we move into spring and summer) and sit down for 2 minutes. Be sure they’re separated from anyone else, as you’ll likely have to send them right home if that reading is accurate. Then, take their temp again after 2-5 mins rest. If they’re still at that temp and holding, send them home ASAP.  For employees who have cars, a few minutes in their car’s air conditioning may help.

An employee’s partner was exposed to someone who tested positive. He’s in self-quarantine for 14 days. Neither the employee nor partner have symptoms. Does the employee need to stay out? 

At this time, we’re not excluding someone for second-hand exposure (only if they were directly exposed to a symptomatic or confirmed positive for prolonged close contact).  Instead, the employee should monitor themself and their partner for symptoms. At the first sign of symptoms in the partner or symptoms of their own, the employee should be excluded for 14 days and practice self-quarantine.

We are reopening buildings that have not used their water in some time.  Any concerns about Legionnaire’s, mold, etc.?

Yes! See the CDC Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation.  Follow these guidelines carefully as you consider reopening. You may need to bring in outside resources, consult with Construction or a building’s engineers. And make sure you’re doing a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of all spaces when you return. 

Best Read of the Day:

An SF doctor returning from working in NY reported a very full flight with people in most middle seats - definitely within 6 feet. Again, we DO NOT recommend flying (or any kind of travel) unless it’s critically necessary. 

United Airlines said it would try to keep middle seats empty. This photo shows a nearly full flight.

Best Laugh of the Day:

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