IECRM Member Forum Recap
Healthcare! Mask Wearing Tips, Options for Small Businesses and Recent COVID Impacts to Prepare for 2021
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Hosted by IECRM
This forum is one you will want to share with your coworkers. Our special guests provided valuable information about wearing masks, new quarantine protocols from the CDC, access to healthcare options for small businesses, and other health-related topics.
Upcoming Safety Forum: December 30 – Pre-Accident Investigation. Register now to join the upcoming live discussion.
IECRM is honored to help you navigate through these unprecedented times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you will find a bulleted recap of the discussion and helpful links to resources mentioned in today’s Member Forum
If you have any questions to ask of our subject matter experts or suggestions for future Member Forums, please contact IECRM CEO Marilyn Akers Stansbury at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.853.4886.
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS
- Vernon Naake, Chief Medical Officer
North Suburban Medical Center
- Micah Dawson, Attorney at Law
Fisher & Phillips, LLP
email@example.com | O: (303) 218-3658
- Megan Corey McMahon, PEO Consultant
Oasis, a Paychex® Company
firstname.lastname@example.org | M: (303) 668-9234
- Joe Gottlieb, PEO Consultant
Oasis, a Paychex® Company
email@example.com | M: (408) 506-0738
Masks and the Impact of COVID on the Medical Community
- Like everybody, COVID has impacted medical professionals. They have had to learn and change things quickly as they began to understand COVID-19.
- Have had a lot of training in the past with other airborne diseases, but COVID was heightening the need because they had no idea who had it, who was transmitting it, etc.
- They have good information now on how to better protect themselves and others.
- People are being treated and getting released from the hospital much more quickly than in the Spring due to broader knowledge about COVID. There are also fewer intubations.
- Medical personnel utilize the following protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID among healthcare workers:
- Wearing N-95 masks. In the hospitals, they are not only fitted but tested as well.
- Wearing protective eyewear. Most wear face shields in addition to their masks.
- Wearing gloves for all patients.
- Removing PPE safely and washing hands directly after.
Please note: This list does not include all of the PPE that healthcare workers utilize on a daily basis.
The biggest infectivity risk was when they were on breaks congregating and eating together. This should be a warning to all of us. It’s better to remain in your isolation pods (immediate family) and reduce your risk of exposure to others.
Mask Wearing Tips
- Key component to despreading the virus
- Protects you from getting the virus into your system
- Protects others from getting infected by you when you are contagious without knowing it.
- Hardest issue we’ve faced with masks is finding the one that fits you best and doesn’t cause any other problems.
- Masks should be worn and cover your nose and mouth.
- Place your mask higher on the bridge or your nose and under your glasses to prevent fogging up your glasses or goggles.
- Face shields are not as protective because they do not prevent viral particles from going in or out.
- Safety glasses-sealed goggles are more protective to protect your eyes from particles going in.
- Face size matters because you want to have your nose and mouth covered.
Within the Jobsite setting:
- Carpooling expands your isolation bubble and increases the risk of spreading the virus
- Having lunch in small areas where people are unmasked is a big risk for spreading the virus.
- Don’t share food (i.e. pizza, chips/dip, other things that can be shared). All food should be individually wrapped.
No matter what you do, there is always a chance to become infected with COVID. All the protocols decrease the risk of infection, not eliminate it.
What’s the difference between testing for antibodies and infection (from the FDA website)?
Types of Tests
There are two different types of tests – diagnostic tests and antibody tests.
- A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently, there are two types of diagnostic tests– molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins from the virus. Public health professionals may be interested in the article A Closer Look at COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing.
- An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by your immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks or more after recovery. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to COVID-19 in the future.
Antibody testing will only tell you if you have made antibodies to the virus. Sometimes the antibody load is small enough that a new infection could give you the same symptoms as your body reacts to the virus again. That’s why the vaccine will be done in two doses. It will take a lot of vaccines to get to the point where we feel we are back to normal again. How long will it take? It depends on how well we do at getting people vaccinated. Hoping for some normalcy by summer 2021.
Types of Masks
- N-95 masks work really well if they are fitted. In hospitals, they are not only fitted but tested as well.
- N-95 masks with the filter allow you to exhale air but are not protecting those around you because it is a one-way valve.
- The newest type of mask is the KN-95 Has the same infiltration properties as an N-95 mask but doesn’t have to be fitted. Not as effective as N-95.
- Level 3 mask is a mask that also has a face shield.
- Level 1 mask is what most people wear around town and are the disposable paper masks that you generally see in the medical field.
- Cloth masks are not as good at protecting as surgical masks, but they do help with decreasing spread and are protective. The breathability of a mask usually indicates that more particles can get in.
Top Three Things to Do to Reduce the Spread of COVID:
- Socially Distance
- Wear a mask
- Wash Your Hands
COVID Updates to Prepare for 2021
If you’ve been exposed, there are now two options to reduce quarantine (from the CDC):
“Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing the time they cannot work. A shorter quarantine period also can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.
Your local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Follow the recommendations of your local public health department if you need to quarantine. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine
- After day 10 without testing
- After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)
After stopping quarantine, you should:
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
- If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.
- Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. CDC will continue to evaluate new information and update recommendations as needed. See Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing for guidance on options to reduce quarantine.”
Guidance for Businesses:
- Advise not rushing into new quarantine policies for your company. It’s about protecting everyone.
- If your company has the ability to allow the 14 day quarantine period, that is best practice.
- Communicate with your employees what the expectations are for quarantine and testing.
- Be diligent with paperwork. Document cases.
- Requiring vaccinations of employees – when we get to the place where vaccines are readily available, there will be guidance. Right now, we just need to wait and see.
- Starting to see discrimination claims with mask-wearing and quarantine regulations. Some people have underlying conditions that prevent them from wearing masks. Make sure to remind your supervisors to get ahead of conversations that may be happening.
- What happens when someone refuses to follow protocols? Employers have the right to require it (same as uniform policies). Document it. You, as the employer, have the right to discipline the employee.
Healthcare Options through Oasis, A Paychex® Company:
- Oasis provides Human Resource Administration, Employee Benefits (Health, 401k, Vision, Dental, Life, Short Term/Long Term Disability). They also provide Healthcare reform (ACA), Payroll administration, and Risk Management (safety, return to work programs, compliance support, and legal programs) to help small and medium-sized businesses compete with Fortune 500 companies.
- PEO clients significantly reduce the cost of health benefits, compared to those who go it alone.
- Health insurance is the biggest expense outside of Payroll for most employers – that’s where a PEO comes in.
- Oasis, a Paychex Company, has seen single-digit renewals for the last 10 years
- On average we typically see 15% savings on health insurance compared to the open market
- Allow small companies to access large group rates – making plans cheaper and richer for their employees
- Each company is different and we work with each company individually to come up with the best solution for their needs
- High renewals? Renewal coming up? Already renewed?
- Health insurance can switch at any time and deductibles carry over
Please contact Megan Corey or Joe Gottlieb with any questions. Their contact information is listed at the top of this document.
Find a testing site near you at covid19.colorado.gov/testing. Read the latest update in its entirety from Governor Polis.
Additional COVID Reminders
- OSHA is starting to do drive-by inspections to see if companies are following COVID protocols. Be sure you have your COVID Protocol Standard available.
For someone who gets COVID or has childcare issues due to COVID, 80 hours of pay is required to be available. Resets to 80 hours again in January 2021.
- Sick Leave For Employees – Colorado’s “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”
- Healthy Families Workplace Act
- COVID-19 Resources to Support Small Businesses