October 21, 2020
In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, a recent study on the survival of SARS-CoV-2 and the influenza virus on human skin further accentuate the need for hand hygiene (aka: the importance of washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds). Read more here.
How can assurance testing of asymptomatic workers verify your COVID-19 Protection? Join our upcoming webinar with Dr. Ben Miller next Wednesday October 28, 2020.
OSHA is offering no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized U.S. businesses. Especially in the age of COVID, “Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.” Find out more here.
A CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases article has found that although 47.4% of all workers in food manufacturing and agricultural workplaces are minority workers, 83.2% of confirmed cases were from minority populations. This highlights the need for salient, adaptive, and accessible resources for workers from diverse communities.
“8 Things To Know About Vaccine Planning” from CDC discusses the current status of COVID-19 vaccine plans. For starters, the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. While some may be ready (developed, tested, and ready-to-use) before others, the CDC is working with “partners at all levels of the government to plan for different vaccines and scenarios.” At the start, there will be a limited supply of vaccines with the supply gradually increasing. Finally, the federal government is “committed to providing free or low-cost COVID-19 vaccines.” Read more about CDC’s commitment here.
In the United Kingdom, vaccines are to be tested on humans as part of the “human challenge” trials by deliberately infecting volunteers with the pathogen to understand efficacy of the developed vaccines. Read more about these upcoming human trials here.
The FDA posted a new “FDA Insight” podcast featuring Deputy Commissioner Anand Shah, M.D., and Dr. Peter Marks, the Director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, discussing the upcoming Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday, Octoboer 22 (10AM – 5PM ET – which is open to the public. Facilitating the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a high priority for the FDA, but the agency recognizes that transparency about the safety and effectiveness data the agency will evaluate and discussion of the data with the Advisory Committee in a public forum are critical to building trust and confidence in their use by the public. To attend or listen to the webcast later, sign up on the FDA’s site.
Recommendations for Industry
Handwashing: The New Why Behind It
A new study from Oxford has found that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) can survive on human skin for up to 9 hours, increasing the risk of contact transmission, accelerating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic – and emphasizing the importance of regular handwashing.
The study compared the survival of SARS-CoV-2 with that of the influenza A virus, showing SARS-CoV-2 to have a significantly longer survival rate both on the skin – 9 hours compared with only 2 hours for the flu; and in a mucus medium – 11 hours compared with less than 2 for the flu.
Both SARS-CoV-2 and the flu were shown to be completely inactivated within 15 seconds by ethanol treatment on the skin and the mucus medium – demonstrating the importance of proper handwashing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Assurance Testing of Asymptomatic Workers Can Verify Your COVID-19 Protections
With COVID-19 cases increasing across the US, the risk of asymptomatic employees bringing active infections into a facility increases as well. While symptom monitoring and other prevention programs can help reduce the risk of in-facility transmission, how do you know if your programs are working?
Assurance testing (regular testing of asymptomatic employees for COVID-19) is an added layer of protection that can help verify that your current risk-mitigation programs are working, and there aren't "silent outbreaks" happening in your facility. Assurance testing for your employees can be thought of as similar to a well-designed Environmental Monitoring Program in a food-processing facility, allowing you to verify the efficacy of your preventive controls.
What kinds of tests are available and how accessible are they?
When is it appropriate to conduct assurance testing?
How many employees would I need to test and how often to reduce the risk of in-facility transmission?
What logistics are involved in setting up an assurance testing program?
What can I learn from positive results and how can I quickly respond to reduce risk?
Wednesday, October 28
12:00 noon ET
As of October 21, 2020 (15:07 ET), there are over > 41,033,000 cases (>1,127,000 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.
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