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Keeping Employees Safe – How to Cope with the Omicron Surge in the Workplace

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has disrupted the U.S. economy for weeks. Employers hoping to hit the ground running and have a bumper start to the year were left worrying whether their team would make it into work. As this latest coronavirus wave shows signs of receding, employers have several choices to keep teams safe and smooth operations.

Omicron in Retreat?

As Americans were enjoying their holidays at the end of the year, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus took hold of the country and the rest of the world. Just as employees should have been getting ready to return to work at the beginning of January, hundreds of thousands became sick with COVID-19.

Businesses and public organizations scrambled to ensure a degree of continuity. Even though omicron appeared to cause less severe infections than its predecessor, the delta variant, hospitals became overwhelmed with the number of patients.

As hospitals were filling up, workplaces remained empty. While new cases peaked past 800,000 just a few days ago, the seven-day average across the nation has started to fall. Whilst some have suggested that the omicron wave may be receding, hospitalizations and deaths were still rising at the last count.

Case numbers of COVID-19 are plateauing and even declining in states like New Jersey and New York, which had been the first to see the surge. However, medical experts remain cautious. US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy pointed out to CNN that Omicron was moving at a different pace in different states. As a result, he is not expecting a national peak soon.

What Employers Need to Consider

As an HR professional, manager, or business owner, you are responsible for the safety of your team. Details will differ depending on your location in the country and the development of the virus in your region; concerns may be different. 

However, there are several pertinent questions HR professionals or employers can ask themselves. 

  • What percentage of your workforce has been vaccinated and received boosters?
  • Consider people who did not get the vaccine for medical reasons.
  • How vulnerable is your force? What alternatives to returning to work does your business have?

Vaccination and Breakthrough Infections

Vaccination remains your and your team’s best defense against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite so-called breakthrough infections, where a fully vaccinated person becomes infected, the vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remain effective. Not only are unvaccinated Americans at a greater risk of becoming ill with COVID-19, but they also have a higher risk of severe illness and death.

Medical experts have pointed out that breakthrough infections where a fully vaccinated person becomes infected are regular as no vaccine is 100% effective. As the virus mutates and new variants appear, the vaccines’ effectiveness also changes.

The fact remains that if your workforce is fully vaccinated, they are at a lower risk from Omicron.

Vulnerable Workforces

When analyzing your team’s vaccination rates, it is essential to consider whether your workforce is particularly vulnerable.

Those who cannot be vaccinated are vulnerable. Your employees may also have religious reasons to opt against vaccination, apart from medical reasons.

Staff who are customer-facing are arguably at a higher risk than those working in less populated offices. HR teams should consider what additional protection they can offer these workers.

Regular Testing to Secure Employee’s Safety

One option open to all employers is offering regular testing to their teams. Whether you are in a part of the country where COVID-19 cases are dropping or your state is still seeing more infections, testing helps mitigate the risk for businesses, organizations, and individuals.

To ensure that logistics run smoothly, HR professionals can team up with reliable, proven partners even within a large organization. Organizations like TrueCare™ have the infrastructure and supplies available to provide and support testing for companies of any size.

Bulk testing solutions are staffed by qualified and experienced personnel and meet the FDA’s guidelines. Our teams can carry out rapid antigen, molecular, and blood tests on-site. In addition, you benefit from digital contract tracing if employees are testing positive.

You can add on-site temperature checks for staff and customers for increased safety. Those can be performed by a healthcare professional, or you can opt for thermal cameras and self-check equipment. On-site testing is neither disruptive to your company’s operations nor forbiddingly expensive as health insurance providers cover tests.

Plus, the TrueCare™ self-check app allows employees to pre-screen themselves before traveling to work. Testing, temperature checks, and pre-screening give your business three layers of safety to help contain the spread of the Omicron variant and keep your business operational.

Find out more about how we can help you keep your team safe!

 

About TrueCare™ 

TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.

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