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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, July 19th

Do you need to report monkeypox cases? Plus more FAQs


  • Summer camps are being impacted once again by COVID, with several popular camps in upstate NY forced to end sessions early with widespread outbreaks among counselors. (Gothamist)
  • Bay Area wastewater studies seem to be showing that the biggest COVID wave yet may be coming. (SF Chronicle)
  • COVID vaccination can cause temporary changes to the menstrual cycle, with some reporting heavier bleeding than is usual for them. There’s no impact long-term and it doesn’t affect fertility in any way. (NY Times)
  • When the flu vaccine is given with a COVID booster, people reported more side effects like fatigue, muscle aches, and headache than either vaccine alone- but the vast majority were mild. (CIDRAP)
  • Kids’ COVID vaccines are hard to find in Florida, and many say Gov. DeSantis is to blame. (Washington Post)
  • As wealthier nations move to a 4th COVID dose for all, Africa is being left behind - only  one in five there have had both of their initial doses. (NPR)

Public Health News:

  • Sexual health clinics fighting monkeypox are underfunded and ill-equipped. (KHN)
  • Demand for the monkeypox vaccine far exceeds the supply. (NY Times)
  • NYC will use a one-dose strategy despite FDA warnings against it, because they are so desperate for vaccine, with over 450 confirmed cases and many hundreds more exposed. (STAT)
  • Yet another restaurant worker in Roanoke, VA has been diagnosed with Hep A.  Fortunately, uncooked food wasn’t involved and the DOH determined there is not a need to call for public preventive Hep A vaccinations. (WSLS)
  • Ghana has declared an outbreak of Marburg virus, a highly infectious and deadly disease similar to Ebola virus. The two confirmed patients died and almost 100 people are now under quarantine. (CNN)
  • Roche has designed a dual antigen and antibody test for Hepatitis C, which will help with earlier diagnosis. (Reuters)
  • The unprecedented extreme heat in Europe is causing health issues from heat and wildfires. Nearly 500 people have died in Spain from heat-related causes. (The Guardian)

Mental Health News:

  • 60% of college kids are living with a mental health disorder and schools are not prepared to handle them.  (Fortune)
  • A diet rich in fruits and veggies is tied to overall better mental health. (Forbes)
  • Gender-affirming care improves mental health and may save lives. (WIRED)
  • The youth mental health crisis impacts caregivers and the companies they work for. (Fast Company)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions:

An employee is still very sick and testing positive on Day 10. Are they still infectious? How long should they stay out of work?

If an employee is still actively coughing, sneezing, having trouble breathing, or otherwise quite sick, they should not return to work, even if it’s been 10 days. They may still be infectious. Our basic guidelines are that cough, diarrhea, and vomiting should be resolved before someone can return to work, especially in the foodservice industry, and their other symptoms should be improving.

What do we tell coworkers when an employee is out on extended sick leave with monkeypox?

It’s very important that you’re protecting your employees’ privacy around anything to do with their health. Confidentiality is especially key with something like monkeypox where the (incorrect) assumption that it only affects gay people could mean that you’re inadvertently outing someone or adding to stigma surrounding the virus. Never discuss one employee’s health situation with other employees. Managers can cite your company policy around discussing other employees if they feel they need an explanation.

Do we need to report monkeypox to the health department or CDC?

No, their medical provider will report it. And, unlike other reportable illnesses, there’s no reason to expect a visit from the health department - this is not a workplace issue. All you need to do is exclude anyone the sick employee lives with or dates until you receive a doctor’s note (or a note from the health department) clearing them to work. The sick employee will likely be contacted by the health department and given instructions for when they can return to work.

Any guidance on addressing homophobic comments around monkeypox?

Homophobic comments have no place in the workplace, and managers should make that abundantly clear. It can help for managers to have some facts about monkeypox, and to understand the context. Monkeypox is not a ‘gay disease’, it’s a highly transmissible virus that happens to have caught hold in close-knit social networks. It’s not even a sexually transmitted disease in the usual sense - it’s spread through close physical contact that includes sex, but can easily spread through households, families, and other groups that have close physical contact with each other. We have a history here in the US of treating AIDS as the gay community’s problem instead of a national public health emergency, and the result was over 700,000 deaths. You should ensure that your managers and employees are aware that you have a zero-tolerance policy for hatred and homophobia in your workplace.

Best Read:

Boost Now or Wait? Many Wonder How Best to Ride Out Covid's Next Wave | Kaiser Health News

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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.