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Zero Hour Health+ Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, June 22nd

Do we need to exclude fully vaccinated employees when they're sick?

ZHH Updates

  • Reminder: We’ve made some major updates to our Exclusion Chart to reflect the dropping case counts, rising vaccination, and circulation of other viruses in the U.S. See our updated Exclusion Chart here.


  • It’s been 500 days since the first US COVID death. (CNN)
  • A group of epidemiologists predict the next surge may come as early as July and last through November (likely at lower levels than prior surges). (NPR)
  • Some experts are calling for the US and other vaccine-flush countries to delay booster shots until baseline first and second doses are delivered around the world. (MedPage Today)
  • The Delta variant will likely be the most dominant strain within a few months, according to the CDC. (Politico)
  • When the ACIP meets tomorrow, their first agenda item is discussing reports of post-vaccination myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. (CDC)
  • Newest data shows that vaccinations are 91% effective in reducing illness, hospitalizations and deaths. (CDC
  • Employers continue to wrestle with COVID vaccination and tracking requirements - and it’s a mess. (Reuters)
  • There’s a strong link between COVID spread and childrens’ birthday parties in the UK . (MSN)  
  • Bizarre food smells haunt some COVID survivors with foods tasting like dirt, or burnt. Onions and garlic taste putrid and coffee smells like gasoline, for some. (NYT)

Today’s Health News

  • There’s been a big increase in drug-resistant Salmonella in the US this year (Food Safety News)
  • A new straw, modeled after McDonald’s McFlurry straw, appears to cure hiccups. (The Guardian)
  • Blood pressure medication, which passes through the blood-brain barrier, may actually help prevent memory loss. (WebMD)
  • There is an unusual TB outbreak being experienced by people who received a bone graft after a serious injury. (Gizmodo)
  • Algorithms meant to streamline healthcare systems may be racially and economically biased. (STAT)

Best Questions

Do we still need to exclude employees who have symptoms even if they’re fully vaccinated? 

Yes. Even if fully vaccinated, employees with symptoms do need to stay home from work. It’s still possible they have COVID - breakthrough cases are rare but regular, and tend to be more mild. It’s also possible they have something else, like the flu or another respiratory virus. Either way, they should stay home to avoid spreading whatever illness they have to other employees or guests. 

Can we reduce or eliminate the full sanitizing protocol after someone tests positive? 

We don’t recommend scrapping your sanitizing protocols just yet. It’s possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces, but the risk is generally considered to be low. Still, it’s key to consider the attitudes of both employees and customers, as well as health departments and even OSHA. If it turns out you have an outbreak or a work-related infection on your hands, the optics of doing a full sanitizing are important, even if the chances of surface-based transmission are low. 

If a person is fully vaccinated and tests positive for COVID, do they need to isolate? Why?

Yes. A positive test for COVID means that the person is actively infected and therefore able to transmit the virus. Even for those fully vaccinated, breakthrough cases are possible, though they are rare and tend to be milder. Regardless of vaccination status, COVID+ people must stay home and self-isolate for a full 10 days from the date their symptoms started, or from the date of their positive test if they never had any symptoms. 

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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.