Updated: May 01, 2020
Today on Factual Friday:
Are we comparing apples to oranges when comparing COVID-19 mortality rates to the seasonal flu? A new article in Scientific American compares the current methods of counting coronavirus deaths to the methods of estimating seasonal influenza deaths and says, “If we compare, for instance, the number of people who died in the United States from COVID-19 in the second full week of April to the number of people who died from influenza during the worst week of the past seven flu seasons (as reported to the CDC), we find that the novel coronavirus killed between 9.5 and 44 times more people than seasonal flu. In other words, the coronavirus is not anything like the flu: It is much, much worse.”
There is emerging evidence that people may retest positive for COVID-19 after symptom resolution. Depending on testing availability, TAG is recommending that employees who have either had: (a) had a confirmed positive COVID-19 test OR (b) ) have been medically diagnosed by a health professional with COVID-19 based on symptoms be tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test.
This is consistent with current CDC recommendations for discontinuation from isolation using a test-based strategy. Given the unknown risk of post-symptomatic transmission, this test-based approach may be more protective than relying on non-test-based strategies.
To ensure business continuity, employers should seek to facilitate testing arrangements for their employees for the return-to-work process.
TAG has two new downloadable resources available online (a pictogram of symptoms and a chart of symptoms). These posters can be posted at entrances and used as a guide for asking about symptoms as part of the Wellness Check. Find them on our COVID-19 Resources page.
the Food Industry
Phasing Back Your Workforce.
With states starting to issue COVID-19 reopening and recovery orders, food companies are beginning to look at policies and procedures for bringing non-essential employees back to work.
Whether your state or region is gradually reopening with a phased-in approach or proceeding at a faster pace, TAG sees a continuance of employee protection practices as even more critical now. We are still amid a pandemic, and as people emerge from staying-at-home, there is a potential increased risk of infection, especially if social distancing is not strictly maintained.
Along with maintaining protection practices, TAG highly recommends that recovery be conducted through a phased-in approach to bringing back workers:
Continue to conduct wellness checks on all employees before entry.
Develop further strategies for social distancing for your gradually increasing number of employees, including such procedures as staggering shifts and breaks, advising workers against greetings that require touching (shaking hands, hugging, kissing), etc.
Ensure newly returned employees understand newly implemented increased policies for handwashing and hygiene.
Continue the enhanced cleaning and disinfection, particularly in common areas and any area where a COVID-19 diagnosed person has worked.
Have all employees wear non-medical grade masks or face coverings while onsite.
Remind workers of the need for 24/7 social distancing for the safety of all employees.
Because the pandemic will continue to have an impact for months – or years, particularly if recovery is not phased in, the practices you put in place during this time will have a significant effect on your continued success.
TAG is currently updating its COVID-19 Toolkit to provide a fully outlined Process for Recovery and Reopening. If you’ve not yet subscribed to this program, it’s a good time to do so – Contact TAG today!
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".
Please feel free to use this free poster at your establishment. Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of this poster (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese - simplified, traditional are available).
As of May 01, 2020 (08:32 ET), there are >3,270,000 cases (>233,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
Please send us any questions, comments, and/or concerns! We are happy to talk with you.
OR call us at 1-800-401-2239
Get the Insights & Guidance You Need!
Learn how TAG can help your company ensure food safety and brand protection.
Contact us today!