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Zero Hour Health+ Zedic Newsletter - Friday, June 25th

Do employees need to wear masks if they were previously COVID+?


  • Nearly every COVID death is now preventable. (Yahoo)
  • San Francisco, leading the way for other municipalities, will require city workers to be vaccinated. (NBC)
  • A Bristol, UK man has now tested positive for COVID for 305 days - the longest known positive case. (Independent)
  • While many think the pandemic is over, COVID has been deadlier in 2021 than in 2020. (CNBC)
  • A new study shows a strong correlation between severity of COVID illness and conjunctivitis (pink eye). (DG Alerts)
  • Vaccine cards may be the golden ticket for entry into certain bars and clubs. (Thrillist)
  • While there are rumors of Bells’ Palsy after COVID vaccination, a new study published in this week’s JAMA shows that Bells’ Palsy is far more common after COVID itself. (JAMA)
  • Good news for those who lost their sense of smell with COVID.  A small new study shows 96% of people recovered by the 12 month mark.  (JAMA)
  • The CDC’s vaccine advisory committee backed giving Flu vaccine together with COVID vaccine, which will be critical this fall for vaccination efforts. (MedPage Today)

Today’s Health News

  • Kids who visited a water park in Kansas are now sick and it sounds like Shigella is the likely cause.(KCNH)
  • The pandemic led to the largest drop in life expectancy in the US since World War Two. (NPR)
  • The FDA continues to investigate an active outbreak of Salmonella that they’ve tied to shrimp. (FDA)
  • Hundreds more cases of salmonella are now linked to increasingly popular backyard chickens. (FSN)

Best Questions

An employee claims they don’t need to wear a mask because they had COVID in January. Is that correct?

No, unfortunately that’s incorrect. The employee still needs to wear a mask if they are unvaccinated, even if they tested positive for COVID in the past. Antibodies are shown to protect an employee up to 90 days after the initial infection (and in this case the employee is past that timeline), but there’s limited research about how long that “natural immunity” lasts beyond those first 90 days. The CDC’s guidelines allowing vaccinated employees to remove their masks doesn’t currently extend to those with natural immunity.  

We have a fully vaccinated employee with a 101° fever and a headache. How long should we keep her out of work?

Currently, for symptoms of a fever over 100.4° and a headache, we recommend keeping the employee out for 3 days from the date of symptom onset. The employee must also be 24 hours symptom-free to return, including 24 hours fever-free without fever-reducing medication. It’s still possible to get sick and spread illness, including COVID, once vaccinated, so at this time we will continue to exclude all employees that are experiencing symptoms.

Will someone with COVID test positive if they’re still symptomatic, even if their symptoms started several weeks ago?

It’s possible someone will test positive for COVID if they’re continuing to have symptoms, no matter the timeline. Currently, the CDC recommends that COVID+ employees are excluded for 10 days from the date of symptom onset, and that they must be 24 hours fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications with all other symptoms improving. Because someone could still test positive for weeks or months, even without symptoms, the CDC doesn’t recommend return-to-work testing.

Should we be concerned about myocarditis and vaccinations?

According to the CDC’s vaccine advisors, there is a low risk for myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle) following the mRNA COVID vaccine. The CDC’s vaccine safety monitoring system reported 12.6 cases per million in people ages 12-39, occurring within a 3 week period after the second dose. Vaccine-related myocarditis is highly treatable and has a good recovery rate for patients. Although myocarditis is possible after the vaccine, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks. 

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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.