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COVID-19 Briefing - Tuesday, 2/2

Help wanted (and vaccines, too)!

Today's Recap:

Best Questions:

Should we encourage employees to get written results of their positive test results?

Yes. We’ll always advise to exclude an employee for close contact or symptoms if there is no documentation of their earlier positive result. Besides, many of you need positive results to authorize COVID pay.  

What are KF94 masks and why are we hearing so much about them?

KF94 masks are the South Korean equivalent of the N95. The “KF” stands for “Korean filter,” and the “94” means that, according to South Korean government standards, it is 94% effective at filtering out airborne particles. Here’s a good article on them.

Many employees have symptoms that linger long after 10 days. How do we know when they can return to work?

Clearing employees to return to work after COVID actually appears to be getting more challenging - not easier. Although the CDC confirms that someone with COVID is no longer infectious 10 days after symptom onset in most cases, increasingly employees with COVID aren’t ready to come back to work on Day 11. Some are developing fevers later in the illness and, therefore, aren’t fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing meds. Others are still coughing, extremely fatigued or have other symptoms that may prevent them from returning to work. One of the clear indicators of when an employee isn’t ready to return is when they are actively coughing and aren’t able to control it with cough medicine or other remedies. We are trying not to routinely request doctors’ notes (for many reasons) but there may be some circumstances where it is appropriate.

If an employee develops side effects from the COVID vaccine, but they disappear after a few days, can they return to work? 

Vaccination side effects generally occur on the 1st or 2nd day after vaccination and don’t include respiratory symptoms or loss of taste and smell. Household members and close contacts don’t need to be excluded as a result of the vaccine recipient’s side effects on Day 1 or 2 post-vaccination, but if the side effects occur later than that or aren’t typical side effects, then you should assume the person is sick and exclude accordingly.

Best Read:

The Times takes a closer look at the gap between COVID treatments and vaccines in this article:

How the Search for COVID-19 Treatments Faltered While Vaccines Sped Ahead

Best Laugh:

Reminder: Upcoming Webinar

TOMORROW Wednesday, Feb. 3rd at 3 p.m. ET

Register for our free webinar

To incentivize or not, that is the question at the forefront of every employer’s mind as we continue to navigate the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines. In this FREE webinar, you’ll hear from Roslyn Stone, COO of Zero Hour Health and founder of Zedic, Claire Deason, Shareholder at Littler Mendelson Employment Law, and Dr. Monique Foster, leading medical epidemiologist from the US Public Health Service of the CDC. They will discuss the latest updates on employee vaccine incentives, tracking, and, as always, will leave plenty of time for your questions.

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.