Although many of us are feeling done with the virus, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it isn’t done with us. New variants of the virus are counteracting the work that has been achieved to control COVID-19 and those at risk.
State of the Pandemic
Currently, there are a couple of variants of the COVID-19 virus that are present in our society, and causing a spike in cases, experts believe. With 508,000 COVID-19 deaths so far, the new variants are cause for concern.
Not only have the new variants shown to be more transmissible – some studies claim them to be 2.2 times as transmissible – with these variants being speculated as being impervious to the vaccine. These variants are thus causing an increase in cases and bringing an influx of positive COVID cases. An example is California, where the majority of their cases currently are due to the variants rather than the initial variant.
However, there is some good news on the horizon. A trial with the Pfizer vaccine found that children between the ages of 12 and 15 who were vaccinated were found to be 100% immune to the virus. Additionally, some areas of the country are seeing cases of hospitalization going down.
Despite the good news, businesses must remain vigilant. As workers are returning to the office, it’s more important than ever for businesses and business-owners to take steps to control the virus within their offices and facilities.
To help with the control of the virus, there are a couple of innovative tools businesses can rely:
- Rapid testing: This allows people to be tested quickly, with results accessible within a couple of hours and/or minutes.
- Automated Contact Tracing: Helping experts understand and track the spread of the virus, including the other variants.
- Faster vaccine development: The faster we can have the majority of the population vaccinated, the sooner the virus will be contained.
Additionally, companies can use COVIDSecure. This easy-to-use app allows for the most seamless form of patient testing, notification, and observation tracking thanks to advanced reporting tools. With COVIDSecure, your business can better protect your employees against the COVID-19 virus and its variants.
With the emergence of the variants and the continued presence of COVID-19 Classic, current recommendations will sound familiar:
- Masks: Masks continue to play an important role in the spread of the virus, containing respiratory droplets and reducing the spread of the virus through direct contact.
- Social Distancing: As we continue to remain six-feet away from each other, we reduce the risk of contact infections.
What Businesses Can Do
As a business owner, you can take the following steps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in your work-place:
- Require Mask-Wearing. By requiring employees to continue wearing masks, you reduce the risk of employees catching and spreading the virus. Start by setting the example at the top with leadership and management.
- Incentivize Vaccines. Make it as easy as possible for your employees to take the time to get vaccinated. Offer local resources or sites to help them set up their appointments and allow them to make appointments during work hours. With a receipt to confirm each shot, you can track your team’s appointments. Whatever you choose, make your employees excited and comfortable about getting their vaccines.
- Facilitate Remote Work. While many companies have asked some employees to return to the office, continuing to allow and facilitate remote work is an important way to protect your employees. If they can do their job from home, let them.
- Change Company Culture. Creating a company culture that values health is crucial right now. Rather than penalizing employees for taking sick days, be more empathetic towards it. Create an atmosphere where your employees’ health is valued and a priority.
- Stay Up-to-Date. It’s vital that businesses and business owners stay up-to-date about current recommendations related to COVID-19, as well as the development of the virus and the variants. Without that knowledge, you won’t be able to make organizational changes to protect your employees.