If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Yes. Starting on May 11th, there will be major changes in who covers the cost of COVID tests, vaccines, and treatment. Before, those with insurance could have up to eight free at-home rapid tests per month. Starting this week, many major insurers are no longer covering at-home tests, including “most plans” under Cigna, Aetna, and United Healthcare. California has extended free tests (along with vaccine and treatment) for another six months, until November 11th, so insurance companies are required to cover tests in CA until then. For now, people can still order free tests online at covid.gov/tests, but this will likely end when supplies run out. If you’re out of tests at home, it might be a good idea to go buy them before Thursday!
In a recent study, nearly one in five restaurant employees had used drugs in the past month. In 2017, Delaware did a survey of residents who died of overdose deaths, and a full 10% worked in restaurants, the highest incidence of any one industry by far. Offering fentanyl test strips for free to employees can help prevent accidental overdoses from drugs that are laced with fentanyl. You must check with your legal team before offering these - in some states, they’re considered “drug paraphernalia,” though this has been changing lately as states respond to the increase in OD deaths. They are legal in the majority of US states and D.C., so we encourage you to consult with your legal team and consider offering them to your staff if you’re interested.
There’s about a one in five chance (or 20%) that in the next two years we see another wave of illness caused by a new variant that will be similar in scope to the Omicron surge we saw last winter. These stats come from a group of experts who presented to the White House as they planned for Wednesday’s end to the national public health emergency. So, it’s not exactly likely, but it’s certainly something that businesses and health officials need to prepare for.
Create a game plan that includes helping employees get tests (which won’t be free anymore), a sick call system that can scale up to daily wellness checks when there’s an outbreak at a specific location, and guidelines that help managers make the call about when to scale back due to staffing shortages. If you changed your hours or switched to take-out only during the last surge, for example, now’s the time to codify what worked (and what didn’t) so that managers can learn from that experience and skip right to what works best for your company.