Updated: March 24, 2020
As we continue discussing planning and implications for a prolonged outbreak and what you and your business can do to ensure your employees and customers are kept safe and healthy, today we will touch on: (a) third-party cleaners; (b) employee wellness checks; (c) thermometer usage.
Please be cautious of using third-party cleaners promoting unrecognized and unvalidated processes (e.g. fogging – this has not been validated or verified).
Ask for valid documentation for how systems work against coronavirus.
Ensure they are using chemical agents and methods that have been shown to be effective against coronavirus.
To ensure employee health, we will quickly revisit Employee Wellness Checks (which can be found in our FAQs). Wellness checks (interviews) should be conducted each day prior to start of shift (and work). Since COVID-19 symptoms can appear at any time, employee wellness checks can be conducted multiple times a day, if desired.
Employee Wellness Checks can be done in conjunction with temperature checks (which is today’s Recommendations for Industry article).
General Screening Questions
Is the employee experiencing or showing symptoms in the last 24 hours? (specifically: a) fever; b) cough; c) difficulty breathing)?
Has the employee traveled within the last 14 days to a high-risk area [widespread community transmission] or have they been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19? If so, please explain.
When did travel or exposure happen?
If employee has traveled to a high-risk area or had COVID-19 exposure, they should be excluded from work. (TAG’s Toolkit for Clients includes further information, including determination regarding high-risk areas of travel).
If an employee has any of the symptoms listed above:
Have they consulted with a medical professional (e.g. doctor)?
Have they been tested for COVID-19?
Do they have their results yet? Positive or negative?
Determine the employee’s work schedule for at least 24 hours prior to illness onset and up to 14 days. This information can determine who else was working at the same time as the employee if this information is needed to identify close contacts.
Please identify which employees or customers had “close contact” with this employee while working.
Have any other employees experienced fever or cough in the last 14 days?
Cottingham & Butler Webinar: “Breaking Through COVID-19"
Tuesday (today) March 24
from 11:30AM - 12:30PM CST
An exclusive virtual discussion with Dr. David Acheson
Infection Disease Expert, former Associate Commissioner at the FDA, and Chief Medical Officer at the USDA
Find out more & register here [link]
The business and human health implications all companies are facing due to the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak are unprecedented. While every business is being affected, it’s clear that those who will come out on top will have been the first to act fast and prioritize mitigation and business continuity strategies. Join Cottingham & Butler and Dr. Acheson in this fact-based and pragmatic COVID-19 update that will cut through the media-hysteria and opinions and provide real-time strategies and information surrounding the pandemic. Dr. Acheson will outline the very urgent steps you should be taking to ensure your business is as prepared as it can be for the inevitable changes ahead.
Update of the global status of COVID-19
How long the outbreak will last and what to expect going forward
How COVID-19 is spreading and surviving on unlikely surfaces
How to keep your workforce safe
The meaning and use of social distancing
What to do if someone in your workforce tests positive for COVID-19
The policies and procedures you should have today to protect your employees and your business
Understanding what is meant by “critical infrastructure” as defined by the Department of Homeland Security
the Food Industry
Everyone should practice social distancing (more specifically, physical distancing), not only those who are ill or at higher-risk (e.g. older individuals, pre-existing conditions) but also among healthy individuals so we may "flatten the curve".
Conducting Employee Temperature Checks.
As we continue our discussion of the new normal through active COVID-19 management, we have received questions from throughout the food industry about limiting the spread of COVID-19 through employee wellness screening and screening recommendations (including its legalities, documentation, etc.). In previous articles, We have previously discussed general screening, with topics such as How Can I Screen Employee Health? and Considerations for Employee Temperature Screening (available on TAG’s COVID-19 FAQs page). Today, we discuss thermometers and the wellness practice of taking employee temperatures.
Thermometers. While non-contact thermometers are recommended to create distance between wellness screeners and employees, due to high demand, non-contact thermometers may not be readily available.
Non-contact thermometers should be FDA-approved. The FDA database has lists of clinical electronic thermometer/non-contact infrared thermometer (NCIT) manufacturers and specific device models. Please verify that your non-contact thermometer is registered/listed. General information on thermometer-relevant regulations can be found in 21 CFR 880.2910.
A valid “CE” marking on a product indicates it complies with European product safety standards.
An abnormal temperature reading obtained with a non-FDA approved thermometer should be confirmed with the use of a traditional device.
Because some states are mandating temperature checks, standard or contact thermometers will need to be used either with (a) applicable one-use protective shields or (b) following manufacturer’s directions for thermometer disinfection between each employee. The states have not designated specific temperatures at which employees should be considered ill and sent home, but CDC defines a fever temperature as being 100.4°F.
Temperature Checks. Additional practices and recommendations for employee temperature checks include:
Only use thermometers designed to collect human temperatures, e.g., if all you have is a meat thermometer, use your general employee wellness check instead.
If you don’t have access to an FDA listed NCIT and your state is requiring temperature checks, call the state and let them know. The risk of using contact thermometers between employees unless done by a trained medical professional is greater than not taking temperatures. In these cases, you should rely on the employee wellness check instead.
Always conduct temperature checks prior to allowing employees to enter for their shifts.
Because COVID-19 symptoms can arise suddenly, it is advisable to have temperature checks at additional points throughout the day, such as at the employee’s lunch break.
If you are not able to redesign your workflows to allow for more than 6 feet of distance between workers, wellness checks should be conducted more frequently throughout the day (at breaks, during lunch, etc.).
Documentation. TAG is often asked if temperatures and wellness checks should be documented. While there is, again, no specific legal requirement, we recommend:
If the temperature is normal and screening questions indicate wellness, documentation is not needed.
If a fever temperature is recorded or the screening questions suggest an increased risk of COVID-19, this should be documented, and the employee sent home.
Because this is medical information, protected by HIPAA, the individual’s identity must be considered private and not disclosed to others.
As of March 24, 2020 (10:45 AM ET), there are over 395,600 cases (>17,200 deaths) worldwide in 197 countries/territories.
Syrian Arab Republic, Grenada, Mozambique, Laos, Myanmar, Belize have reported their first cases of COVID-19. Guam has announced their first death related to COVID-19.
In the United States, there are 46,485 confirmed/tested (591 deaths) COVID-19 cases. All 50 states and various U.S. territories are now reporting cases. Hawaii has reported its firth death. The following states have issued stay-at-home orders: California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Connecticut, Washington, Ohio, Oregon, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Delaware, Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, and Hawaii.
Current Confirmed Cases (Please note, instead of countries over 100 cases, TAG will now be reporting countries with over 1,000 cases):
United States: 46,485
South Korea: 9,037
United Kingdom: 6,733
For further information, please see Johns Hopkins University’s aggregate map.
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
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