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Monday, June 21, 2021

    Public health gives COVID-19 guidance for businesses

    Trinity Muscatine Public Healthhttps://www.unitypoint.org/quadcities/muscatine-public-health.aspx
    Trinity Muscatine Public Health provides health education, wellness, and outreach activities for individuals and groups within Muscatine County and the surrounding area. Trinity Muscatine Public Health (TMPH) is contracted by Muscatine County to provide essential public health services for the residents of Muscatine County, working in coordination with the Muscatine County Board of Health. We also have a number of grants to provide additional health-related services to residents in Cedar, Louisa and Muscatine Counties.

    Muscatine Living

    MUSCATINE, Iowa—Trinity Muscatine Public Health, in coordination with the Iowa Department of Public Health, released new guidance for essential businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Preventing Outbreaks

    • Implement measures to enable social distancing as much as possible.
    • Consider staggering shifts to reduce worker population at any given time.
    • Stagger breaks to reduce staff interactions.
    • Identify ways to increase the physical separation of staff.
    • Prioritize hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette among employees.
    • Provide or allow employees to wear cloth face-masks.
    • Provide hand sanitizer or hand-washing opportunities frequently.

    Detecting Outbreaks

    • Screen all employees by taking their temperature and assessing for cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing or other respiratory symptoms at the beginning and end of each shift. For a screening algorithm visit: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/7/bscreening%20algorithm%2003222020.pdf.
    • Exclude all employees reporting fever or respiratory symptoms (direct them to stay home and isolate themselves from other people and animals in the home) until they:
      • Have had no fever for at least 72 hours (three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) and
      • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when cough or shortness of breath have improved) and
      • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
    • Follow exclusion criteria with all symptomatic employees, regardless of whether they undergo testing (even if the employee tests negative for COVID-19 infection).
    • Report to the Iowa Department of Public Health when 10% or more of employees show COVID-19 symptoms (including fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, or other respiratory symptoms). Report to public health by filling out the survey at this link: https://redcap.idph.state.ia.us/surveys/?s=NRJ4FDMDPN

    Managing Outbreaks

    • Coordinate with your occupational health provider to define a pathway to test symptomatic employees.
    • Public health will approve State Hygienic Laboratory testing for symptomatic employees during outbreaks.
    • The occupational health provider or employees’ personal health providers take the nasopharyngeal swab for testing and following-up for medical care as needed.
    • When employees test positive for COVID-19 infection, public health and occupational health will work jointly to investigate cases and identify the following contacts:
      • household contacts.
      • rideshare partners.
      • co-workers with prolonged contact (within six feet of the case for at  least 30 minutes).
    • All of these contacts must stay at home and isolate themselves from other people and  animals in the home for 14 days after the last known exposure to a person with COVID-19.
    • Businesses should consider excluding high-risk employees when outbreaks are ongoing. High-risk employees include the following:
      • People aged 65 years and older.
      • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
      • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
      • People who have serious heart conditions.
      • People who are immunocompromised. Many conditions can cause a  person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies,  poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
      • People with severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or more).
      • People with diabetes.
      • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
      • People with liver disease.

    Businesses should make decisions to close based upon workforce availability and the ability to follow the recommended measures outlined above.

    • Outbreaks are defined as greater than 10% of employees ill with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, or other respiratory symptoms).

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