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The Executive Briefing - Friday, November 5th

Join us at 3pm ET today for a flash briefing on the new OSHA mandate

Flash Briefing @ 3pm ET Today

Join us TODAY at 3PM Eastern Time as we break down the most important aspects of the ETS, how it’s going to affect your operations, what we see that might become permanent law, and much much more. We’ll have the ZHH leadership team alongside Allison Dodd, partner with Messner Reeves LLP diving into all the details. As always, we’ll leave tons of time for your questions.

Register here!

Want to learn more in the meantime? Check out our blog post on the newest OSHA guidance.

COVID Recap:

  • The UK approved Merck’s antiviral COVID pill, the first country to do so. It’s an oral pill that may be a gamechanger in fighting the disease. (CNBC)
  • Pfizer says it’s own antiviral pill is extremely effective in treating COVID, reducing risk of hospitalization or death by 89%. Their research still requires review by outside agencies. (Pfizer)
  • More people are getting booster doses than 1st doses, which is worrisome.  (NPR)
  • India’s vaccine, Covaxin, was approved by the WHO for emergency use, bringing the total WHO-approved list to eight. They’ve applied for FDA emergency use authorization, as well.  (WHO)
  • Tonga is in lockdown for a week after it recorded its very first case of COVID. (NPR)
  • San Francisco will soon require kids 5+ to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, theaters, and sports venues. (SF Chronicle)
  • While overall COVID numbers are down, it continues to crush certain parts of the country like Colorado, Wyoming and Montana  with the holidays approaching. (NPR)
  • A new study shows that breakthrough infections aren’t as severe as infections in those who are unvaccinated. (CNN)

Today’s Health News:

  • A fruit fly infestation closed a dining hall at Harvard.  (Food Management)
  • Florida universities are reporting very high rates of flu, with some classes seeing 40% of students missing. (Tallahasse Democrat)
  • Employee use of sick days has plummeted over the last twenty months when many employees are working from home.  Presenteeism, or working sick, is skyrocketing among remote employees. (Axios)
  • The CDC has raised an alarm about false positives on blood lead tests and initiated a large recall. (CDC)

Best Questions:

What do we need to do by December 5th according ot the new OSHA vaccine mandate?

By the earlier December 5th deadline, employers need to determine each employee’s vaccination status, get proof, and keep a record of who is and who isn’t vaccinated. All unvaccinated employees must wear face masks by that date. You’ll also need to establish a vaccination policy, and provide info about the ETS and workplace policies to employees, in a language and literacy level that’s easy for the employee to understand.

What are the most important first steps we should be taking to prepare for the new rules?

First, you should be deciding whether you’ll mandate vaccination or offer the weekly testing option. Next, you’ll need to start preparing a communication plan to inform your employees of the ETS and your company policy. This is the time to be pushing for vaccination, and using the Dec. 5th deadline for masks for all unvaccinated employees could be a compelling reason to go get the shot. Work on your vaccination encouragement - who will be your champions, what incentives might you offer, and how can you remove barriers? If you do opt for weekly testing for those who are unvaccinated, you should start thinking about how to procure the tests you need. And, perhaps most importantly, you need to start gathering vaccination status for all of your employees - you only have a month to get that info if you haven’t yet. (And ZHH can help with tracking vaccination status and weekly testing, if you haven’t already connected with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out!).

Where can we get rapid tests if we want to offer our unvaccinated employees weekly testing?

Test kits are sporadically available, and we expect there might be a run on rapid tests after today. We’re still waiting to see if there’s any info about discounted tests negotiated by the federal government. If you’re interested, we recommend checking in with your first aid supplier who may have some available tests. Amazon, Target, and Walmart also have available rapid tests at the moment, as do some manufacturers and medical suppliers.

Is it correct that an unvaccinated employee who tests positive can skip weekly testing for 90 days?

Yes, and that was one of the surprises in the guidance. Unvaccinated people who have tested positive for COVID are exempt for 90 days from the date of their positive test or diagnosis. After 90 days, they’ll need weekly testing again.  

Do we need to track booster doses?

Not at this time, but it may be required in the future.  The focus now is getting employees to get vaccinated and upload their vax cards.  There is some possibility that the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated will be modified later. We’ll be updating our tracking systems accordingly when that occurs.

Best Read:

What Is America's COVID Goal Now?

Best Laugh:

Safety Cartoon # 3506 - ANDERTOONS

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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.