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COVID Briefing - June 9

Our briefing, now twice weekly, covers all you need to know each week. Any urgent updates will continue to be sent as push alerts. Today we have reopening toolkits, contact tracing questions you might be asked, and clarification on the WHO's recent statement.

Today’s Recap:

  • The CDC has introduced a toolkit for reopening different types of businesses.  It has many helpful checklists and shareable documents for employees.

  • The FMCSA has issued a 3 month waiver for pre-employment DOT drug screens.

  • There was tremendous confusion yesterday when, during the daily WHO briefing, someone stated that asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 was rare.  The WHO quickly walked back on that assertion and confirmed that their recommendations regarding self-quarantine and risks of transmission by those who are asymptomatic remain unchanged.

  • Updated guidance is increasingly suggesting physical barriers between tables, guests and customers in food service, retail, lodging and entertainment settings may be key to higher occupancy.  For example, NY’s new guidance says that a 30 inch barrier above the back of a booth or above chair height is sufficient for seating to be closer than 6 feet.

Best Questions of the Day:

Do face shields substitute for a mask?

A face shield does not replace the need for a filtering mask.  It can substitute for eye goggles, but should be used with a mask.

If employees shared a joint with someone who tested positive two days later, should they be excluded from work? 

Yes - anything that serves as a conduit for sharing respiratory droplets is a very high risk activity during this outbreak.  Those employees should be excluded for fourteen days from the last date of exposure. 

Does someone who gets tested because they’re curious about their COVID status or attended a protest need to be excluded until results come back?

No.  More and more people are being encouraged to be tested and more free testing is more readily available in many states and communities.  If someone goes to be tested out of curiosity or because they attended a protest, but that person isn’t symptomatic or exposed to a close contact that’s COVID-positive close contact, they do not need to be excluded.  

If someone previously had a  lab confirmed COVID and then is exposed again by a family member becoming ill, do they need to be excluded again?

Well - another example of a moving target with COVID-19.  Until yesterday we were saying no, do not exclude a second time.  However, yesterday the CDC raised questions about that very issue and suggested that we do consider excluding the person a second (or even third) time.  We’ve asked the CDCs Emergency Operations Center for clarification and supporting data, and will be sure to update you as soon as we hear back. 

We have had two incidents of produce drivers that have tested positive for COVID.  The produce houses have reached out directly to stores to inform them. Do we need to exclude anyone?

The situation needs to be assessed but in both of these cases, the delivery driver was not within six feet of anyone at the delivery point for more than fifteen minutes.  It is a good time to remind everyone that you should be masked and gloved when accepting deliveries, use your own pen, stay more than six feet away, that only one person should be in a walk-in at any one time, and to remember to hand wash and change gloves after helping to accept any delivery. 

Best Read of the Day:

We’re so perplexed by how information continues to change about how COVID is transmitted, diagnosed and treated.  This article about how it may really be a blood vessel disease explains a lot.

Coronavirus May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything

Tool of the Day:

We’d be remiss if we didn’t address the issue of racial justice that’s top of mind for so many of us this week.  Today, instead of a best laugh, we wanted to share this great toolkit from Race Forward that’s specifically geared at racial equity in restaurants. It’s free to download. 

Adding Racial Equity to the Menu: An Equity Toolkit for Restaurant Employers

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