OSHA mandate on its way, plus who will pay for testing?
New Podcast Episode: Winter (Flu Season) is Coming
This week’s guest is LJ Tan from Immunize.org. We'll talk about this year's flu season, what it could mean for our healthcare system, and what the reality of living with flu and COVID will mean for us moving forward.
President Biden announced yesterday that he would ask OSHA to mandate vaccination or weekly testing for all employers with over 100 workers. It will be an emergency temporary order. (ABC)
We’re getting early word that OSHA will likely be putting out guidance for this by 9/24 to go into effect on 10/15.Stay tuned for more concrete information, as well as the tools we’re working on to help our clients comply.
Idaho has started to ration care due to lack of beds and staffing shortages, with only 4 ICU beds free out of 400 in the state. (Boise State Public Radio)
Back to school has been a nightmare for many pediatricians across the country: kids made up over 26% of all new COVID cases last week. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Los Angeles might be the first school district to mandate vaccination for in-person, eligible students. (LA Times)
And the University of Delaware asked professors not to tell their students if someone in class tested positive. Their isolation housing is almost full, too. (Washington Post)
We already suspected this, but the WHO now officially says COVID is likely here to stay, soon to be endemic like the flu. (CNBC)
Michigan has created a vaccine portal which differs from some other states because you can see your entire vaccination history, not just your COVID doses. Many public health professionals and employers are watching closely and hoping other states follow suit. (Petoskey News-Review)
Israel will reopen to small groups of vaccinated tourists after the High Holy days this week. (New York Times)
Some of the current debate over booster doses may be related to a decision Pfizer made many months ago… choosing a smaller dose to minimize vaccine side effects. (Business Insider)
The WHO is urging a moratorium on booster doses until the end of the year, giving time to get those doses to poorer countries, which don’t have nearly as much vaccine. (AP)
Moderna is developing a single-dose vaccine that combines a booster dose against COVID-19 and a booster against flu. This would be the first “Pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine” which can later be customized to strains. No timeline for release yet. (Reuters)
Todays’ Health News
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the fights against HIV, TB and malaria, according to a new report published through the WHO. (Global Fund)
Hospitals are warning that they’re already stretched so thin that a bad flu season could be deadly. Get your flu shot now to help prevent overwhelming hospitals. (NBC)
A meningitis outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 129 people so far. (Reuters)
Sheltering inside might not be enough to protect people from wildfire smoke - air filters and purifiers are needed to cut down harmful particles in the air. (NPR)
Scientists have confirmed no burgers for babies. Introducing babies to meat before the age of one resulted in an eight-fold increase in asthma by age six. Fish, dairy and eggs were okay. (MedPageToday)
A fully vaccinated employee has COVID+ family members at home. Her doctor recommended she quarantine for 10 days. Think we should exclude them?
We always recommend following the advice of an employee’s doctor or medical provider. While the CDC guidelines say that a fully vaccinated person can work masked after exposure, it’s always best to follow a doctor’s specific recommendations. Certain conditions might put a person at higher risk of contracting COVID, or the doctor might just be assessing risk differently - either way, it’s always a good idea to follow their lead, as long as their recommendation is more conservative than the CDC guidelines.
An employee is fully vaccinated and tests COVID+. Do they still need to self-isolate?
Yes, yes, yes! This is a common misconception (which is why we’re covering it again here). Regardless of your vaccination status, if you test positive for COVID, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days, even if you don’t have any symptoms at all. No exceptions - a positive test means you need to stay home for 10 days - or more if you’re not fever-free and symptoms have improved by then.
Do booster doses make you feel sicker than previous doses? Should we expect to see more vaccination-related exclusions?
Some good news: side effects from a third dose of vaccinate shouldn’t be worse than after either of the previous two doses of mRNA vaccine. Most people can expect something similar to or less severe than their second dose of the vaccine. The most common side effects after dose three are fatigue and arm pain at the injection site. So, we expect to see some single day work exclusions for people who just got their third dose and are feeling lousy, but we don’t expect those to be longer than a day in most cases, and not everyone will need that.
If an employee who tests positive received monoclonal antibodies, can they return to work sooner?
No. Monoclonal antibodies are a COVID treatment that helps with the immune response to COVID, but it doesn’t shorten the amount of time that someone might be infectious. They’ll need to stay out at least 10 days, until they meet the criteria for ending self-isolation.
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.