Even if those around you aren’t wearing their masks, you can still protect yourself and limit your own risk by wearing a mask, especially if it’s a high quality N95 or KN95. If two people are unmasked and one is sick with COVID, it can take less than 15 minutes to spread an infectious dose of COVID. Wearing a well-fitting N95 or KN95 can increase that transmission time to 2 hours or more. If the sick person wore an N95 as well, you’d suddenly see that time jump to nearly a full day. Of course, in this day and age, with mask mandates being lifted in most major cities and schools, it’s important to know that choosing to wear a good N95-type mask can reduce your risk, even if you can’t control the behaviors of others.
Many of our clients, and other major employers across the US, are still requiring unvaccinated employees to wear masks in the workplace, regardless of whether their local jurisdiction is requiring it any longer. In part, that’s because the recommendations are based on stats that change - like case rates and hospital capacity. For many employers, the logistics of pinning a policy like masking to a fluctuating number is too complicated. Many of our clients think that their customers and colleagues still want to see their unvaccinated employees masked for the most part, with some (vocal) exceptions. We expect that many will continue to keep their current mask policies in place as restrictions ease, to see what others do and how guests respond before adjusting those policies.
Some are - and it’s a good idea for preventing workplace outbreaks. Twice-weekly rapid testing has proven to catch asymptomatic infections, and some major companies have implemented this, for part or all of their workforce. Apple announced in a company-wide memo this week that it will start doing twice-weekly testing for all employees (vaccinated and unvaccinated), in advance of dropping its mask mandate. In most cases, we’re seeing people setting on twice per week rapid testing, either on site or at home before work. When positive cases are detected proactively through surveillance testing, it helps keep businesses open and employees healthy.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing lots and lots of gastrointestinal symptoms lately, and we have seen a number of lab-confirmed Noro cases, indicating that it’s not some other bug going around. Noro is incredibly infectious - there’s enough virus on the head of a pin to infect more than 1000 people, and nearly two thirds of Noro outbreaks from food contamination happen in restaurants. Remind your employees to wash their hands regularly, stay home when they’re sick, and clean your space thoroughly if anyone gets sick at work or in the 24 hours after they’ve worked.
Probably not. Though it recently made front page news, it’s because the investigation was closed and considered to be over. We do continue to see more E.coli, but the bagged salad issue is in the past, and was very limited.