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Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Friday, April 9th

New quarantine guidelines in MI, free at-home tests in CO, CA’s new COVID sick laws and more.

ZHH Updates

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Check out our latest blog post on Preparing for an OSHA Visit.

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Getting to Yes - Encouraging Vaccine Confidence in Hesitant Employees
Special thanks to Sarah Spah from the Minnesota Department of Health and Cathie Koch from Bloomin’ Brands for joining Wednesday’s webinar on encouraging vaccine confidence in the workplace. In case you missed it, here is a link to the recording as well as the Twitter thread we created in real-time during the discussion.

Today's Recap:

Best Questions:

Is it possible to test positive after you’re fully vaccinated? If so, should you self-isolate?

Yes and yes. Breakthrough cases, as they’re called, are possible even in fully vaccinated people, though they are very rare. This may be due to coming into contact with a new variant, some of which the vaccines are slightly less effective against, or it could just be because no vaccine is perfect. It’s also possible that someone was actually infected before they were fully vaccinated, but didn’t get tested or develop symptoms until later. Either way, even if someone is fully vaccinated, if they get sick with COVID symptoms or  test positive for the first time, they should self-isolate for 10 days to make sure they’re not spreading the illness to vulnerable people. This is true even if they don’t have any symptoms at all. 

If someone tests positive on a rapid test and negative on a PCR, what should we do? 

False positives are extremely rare, even with rapid tests. If you test positive on a rapid test but negative on the PCR, you should assume you’re truly COVID+. Even PCR tests have some risk of false negatives, from 5-20% in some cases, and possibly even higher if you don’t have symptoms. If this is the case, you should assume you’re positive and self-isolate for 10 days. We’d also suggest you get another PCR test. In most cases, we expect that the second PCR will come back positive.

There is a new study in the news showing that masks and ventilation stop the spread of COVID. If so, does that mean we can stop social distancing? 

A new UCF study, based on computer models (as opposed to a real-life study), looked at the effectiveness of strong ventilation, proper mask usage and social distancing. If everyone wears masks properly and is in a fully ventilated room with air filters, those two preventative measures do more to lower COVID transmission than social distancing. The study doesn’t show that social distancing didn’t work, just that ventilation and proper mask-wearing of all people in a room work better. 

All that being said, take this with a grain of salt. We know that people aren’t computer models, they don’t wear their masks perfectly, and not every room is as well ventilated as the computer-generated one. Eliminating social distancing hinges on following the other COVID safety measures that are in place. As soon as people wear their masks improperly or remove them altogether (to eat, for example), social distancing becomes a lot more important.

An asymptomatic COVID+ employee hugged a few colleagues. Do we need to exclude those employees if the contact was less than 15 minutes? 

Yes. If you’re within 6ft of someone who’s COVID+ for 15 minutes or more, that’s considered close contact. And if you hug, kiss, share eating or drinking utensils or are intimate with someone, that’s also considered close contact because respiratory droplets are more likely to be exchanged. If the employee does any of those, or is coughed or sneezed on directly, even if the they weren’t within 6ft of the COVID+ individual for 15 or more total minutes, they should follow the same close contact exposure precautions and quarantine for 10 days to ensure they’re not spreading the virus to others. 

Do we need to pay employees for their time getting vaccinated? 

In most states, you don’t need to pay employees for their time getting vaccinated unless you’re mandating it. NY and CA require vaccination pay, even if it’s not mandated by the company. NY has not issued guidance on how to pay this out, but CA has. Consult your legal counsel about the best way to do this. We aren’t aware of any other states requiring this yet, but as with everything in COVID, it’s changing rapidly. If you hear of new jurisdictions requiring vaccination pay, let us know!

The Colorado Dept. of Health is giving away free at-home rapid testing for any frontline workers, including ours. Do you recommend we use that? 

It’s a valuable tool in your toolkit if used properly. Positive test results should be taken as true positives, since false positives are very rare, even with rapid tests. Negative results, though, should be verified. Symptomatic people should still stay home, even if they get a negative result, since rapid tests can miss anywhere from 5-20% of positive cases in symptomatic people, and even more in those who don’t show any symptoms. 

Best Read:

Vaccine passports aren’t new, and the controversy around them is even older than many people realize.

The Vaccine Passport Debate Actually Began In 1897 Over A Plague Vaccine

Best Laugh:

Nothing to do during those 15 minutes stuck in the vaccination observation room?

We got you! Here's a link to our ultimate vaccine playlist featuring songs from Bon Jovi, Hamilton the Musical, Future and, of course, The Vaccines:

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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.