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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, September 13th

You’re probably doing COVID tests wrong

ZHH News:

Addressing Today’s Mental Health Crisis - Key to Managing Staffing and Turnover

With the NY State Restaurant Association

Tuesday, September 20th, 10-11:00 AM EST

Mental health is the leading cause of employee turnover, with 89% of employees who left their job this year reporting feeling burned out or unsupported. Economic uncertainty, stressful working environments, and more challenging interactions with guests and co-workers make restaurant and hospitality work more difficult than ever before. Despite this growing need for mental health support, many restaurant employees either don’t have or don’t know how to access mental health resources.

Our panel of experts will discuss what the current crisis looks like, why having an EAP alone may not be enough, and how to cost effectively offer resources and support to your employees while also mitigating your risk.

Click Here to Register Today!


  • The White House is urging all Americans 12 and older to get the new bivalent shot by Halloween. (SF Chronicle)
  • The longest living COVID patient on a ventilator has died after 850 days on life support. (NY Times)
  • Getting the COVID vaccine may cut long COVID symptoms by up to 80%. (CIDRAP)
  • The US is still losing 400 Americans every day to COVID. 15,824 people died from COVID in August. (CDC)
  • Brain fog is one of the worst and least understood long COVID symptoms. (The Atlantic)

MPX News:

  • The first US monkeypox death was confirmed in LA County. (CNN)
  • Uptake of the MPX vaccine has slowed in the US, and the strategy is shifting to hyper-local outreach campaigns. (Politico)
  • MPX vaccines, treatments, and tests are unavailable in much of the world. (NY Times)
  • Isolating for MPX can put people out of work for weeks, putting enormous financial pressure on many. (LA Times)

Public Health News:

  • The FDA has issued a warning that ground beef issued in some HelloFresh meal kits may be contaminated with E.coli. (Today)
  • The largest private-sector nursing strike in US history began today, with 15,000 Minnesota nurses striking to protest low pay, understaffing and overwork. (AP)
  • The FDA will meet about over-the-counter birth control pills, making access easier, though questions about affordability remain. (The Hill)
  • A new generation of hard hats, the first new design in nearly a century, may give better protection from concussion. (NPR)
  • State plans to eliminate hepatitis C are being hampered by lack of enrolled patients - even though a miracle cure and funding exists. (STAT)

Mental Health News:

  • Oregon will receive federal funding for expanding their mobile crisis intervention teams, an alternative to police response during mental health crises. (AP)
  • Calls to suicide hotlines went up 45% after the changover to 988. (CNN)
  • Some doctors and psychologists are advocating for eliminating distinctions between mental and physical health. (The Guardian)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions:

How could I get both a positive and negative COVID test on the same day?

We’ve heard this more and more - that some people who test multiple times during the course of an Omicron infection are testing negative then positive, and sometimes back and forth multiple times. There was a widely read Wall Street Journal article about a journalist who tested five times in one day, with two rapid positives, two rapid negatives, and a negative PCR. They spoke with our friend, testing expert Mara Aspinall, who discussed a key thing that most people don’t know: you’re not swabbing for mucus, you’re actually swabbing for the cells lining your nose. You should always blow your nose right before taking a test to clear the mucus out. You may have been doing your COVID tests wrong all this time!

I’ve never had COVID. Am I totally immune?

If you’ve managed to dodge COVID until now, congrats! You may be supremely lucky, careful, or both. More likely, though, is that you actually have had COVID, and just didn’t have any symptoms. That in itself is pretty amazing. Doctors believe there may be another thing happening for some people, too, where they are being infected but their immune system clears the virus so fast that they don’t get sick. So they’re actually infected, but not for long. Unfortunately, the most common story we hear is this: I thought I was totally immune because I had multiple exposures and never got sick…until I did. We know people who cared for sick family members without getting sick, thought they were super dodgers, then finally got sick in the past few months. So, it’s safest to assume that no, you’re probably not a super immune outlier, and you should continue to manage your risk level assuming that you can still get sick.

I tested negative multiple times for COVID but still have cold symptoms. Can I go to work?

No, anyone with symptoms of an infectious illness (yes, even you!) should stay home when you’re symptomatic. If you test negative once or even twice on rapid tests, you could still have COVID. Three tests 24 hours apart is about as good a test as you can get, and if you’re still negative, you probably don’t have COVID. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t infectious with something else. RSV and other colds are going around already, and this year’s flu season is predicted to be worse than usual. It’s very hard to know which one you have, and either way, you could interrupt business operations and get other people sick by going to work when you have a cold, even if you’re pretty sure it’s not COVID. Stay home until you’re feeling better.

How often will we need boosters?

Dr. Fauci said recently that boosters will likely go from every 4-6 months to annual shots like the flu shot, but it’s not clear exactly when we’ll get to the point where we can make that switch. If there’s another really infectious new variant like Omicron, we may need a mid-year booster to help. But we’re hoping that as more people get vaccinated and boosted, the virus mutates less, which would allow us to move to a yearly shot more easily. The CDC is moving away from stating the number of doses you need, instead encouraging people to get “the latest” booster dose to stay up to date. Right now, that means that nearly every 12 and up should go get the new bivalent booster by Halloween.

Best Read:

EXPLAINER: Is COVID-19 winding down? Scientists say no. | AP 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.