Zero Hour Health+ Zedic Newsletter - Friday, June 18th
Don't miss the updated Exclusion Chart 🚨
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. This will continue to change as we navigate variants and case rates. See our updated Exclusion Chart here.
Here’s why: As COVID case rates drop, vaccination rates rise, and other diseases start to circulate, the chances of someone’s fever being COVID versus the flu, or noro, or RSV are getting lower. Ten day exclusions make sense in limited contexts, where symptoms are most strongly aligned with COVID, but in many other cases, a three day exclusion are more appropriate - with instructions to stay home longer if symptoms continue or new ones develop.
People hospitalized with COVID now have one thing in common; they’re unvaccinated. (USA Today)
Experts continue to warn of the impact that the new Delta variant could have on communities with low vaccination rates, especially when people spend more time indoors, both in the high heat of summer and the chillier fall and winter months. (CNN)
Scientists are working on an antiviral pill for COVID. This would be a huge development in fighting COVID. (New York Times)
CalOSHA scrapped its mask mandate after the state lifted all restrictions this week. Vaccinated workers can now work without masks. CA’s digital vaccine cards will be rolled out shortly to help with the process. (AP)
Anti-vaxxers have co-opted VAERS, the CDC’s system for people to report adverse events after vaccination, using it to spread disinformation. (NPR)
Oregon’s gift card incentive appears to have worked at one vaccine drive - seeing a 3x increase in attendance after offering $100 gift cards for those who got the J&J jab. (Oregonian)
Not all experts are ready to vaccinate kids against COVID, citing relatively mild symptoms in those who get it, and the rare cases of heart inflammation in some children who have been vaccinated. Others say the risk from the shot is much lower than the risk from COVID. (Kaiser Health News)
The CDC is hosting a webinar on June 24th kicking off a month of action called Motivate to Vaccinate. We’ll be attending, and you can register here to join us. (CDC)
Today’s Health News
There’s a huge heat wave threatening a large portion of the US. Heat-related illness can be dangerous for guests and employees. (CNN)
Norovirus isn’t just for adults - kids get it (and spread it), too. This great 23 min podcast from the CDC is worth a listen if you’re interested in noro. (CDC)
The ACA survived a challenge in the supreme court, and analysts say it’s likely here to stay now. (New York Times)
The CDC is investigating a TB outbreak in more than 100 patients who had spinal surgery or bone repair. A contaminated bone repair product is likely to blame. (Washington Post)
mRNA vaccines aren’t just for COVID - a new mRNA vaccine offered complete protection against malaria in mice. (Medical Xpress)
It’s already a bad year for ticks and experts say it is only going to get worse. (New York Times).
Do we still need to exclude employees who have symptoms even if they’re fully vaccinated?
Even fully vaccinated people can get sick - with COVID and with other illnesses, like the RSV virus that’s spreading in the South right now. And it’s still crucial to keep sick people home from work. Eventually, when COVID case rates drop low enough, you may be able to reduce their exclusion from 10 days to something like three or four days, but it’s still too early to do that just yet given how many cases are still occurring daily.
How concerned should we be about the new Delta variant?
Experts are very concerned about the new Delta variant. If you’re fully vaccinated, it’s probably not a major concern, especially if you’re in a highly vaccinated area. But for those who aren’t vaccinated, all these grand reopenings could spell trouble. The Delta variant, which was first ID’d in India, appears to spread more easily than most other variants in circulation. There’s some evidence, still being researched, that it can even cause more serious illness. As things start to reopen and people start to gather without precautions in place, experts warn that another rise in case counts for those who aren’t vaccinated could be coming.
We’re still seeing lots of new 10-day exclusions for COVID symptoms. Is there a new surge?
Actually, yes - in places where vaccination rates are low, there are rising case rates. Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Wyoming have all seen cases rise in the past two weeks, John Hopkins reported. All but Hawaii have lower than average vaccination rates. States with lower than average vaccination rates also have significantly higher hospitalization rates - and nearly everyone hospitalized for COVID is unvaccinated. It’s a good reminder that although things are reopening, we aren’t out of the woods yet - particularly in states where there’s still a large portion of the population that’s unvaccinated.
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.