With a third wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths hitting record highs, it is important to consider how to respond better.
As of August 18, more than 130,000 Americans were diagnosed with COVID-19 daily. The number is large in itself, but it is even more alarming when compared to the numbers just two months ago.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current seven-day moving average of new infections is over 1000% higher than the numbers reported in June. The lowest value observed then was an average of just over 11,000 new infections per day.
The current increase is due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is now responsible for over 95% of new infections.
Just over 50% of the total population of the United States have been fully vaccinated, with 60% having received at least one dose. For several months now, vaccines have been widely available with supply outstripping demand. However, approximately 100 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated.
Those people are bearing the brunt of the third wave of the Delta variant driving COVID-19 infections. Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Biden, believes that unvaccinated Americans are driving this latest outbreak.
The surge of infections is particularly high in states with low vaccination rates, like Florida and Texas. Alongside Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Oregon, Florida has surpassed the peak number of infections recorded over the past winter. The overwhelming majority of those infected are unvaccinated.
Whilst medical professionals have recorded breakthrough infections in people who had been fully vaccinated, this number remains relatively low. In addition, the Covid-19 vaccines protect from serious disease, including hospitalization and death. Vaccination continues to be the most important tool in the nation’s effort to control the pandemic.
Offering vaccinations in the workplace is your best option to minimize exposure and risk for your organization’s workforce. Whilst part of your team remains unvaccinated, it is crucial to establish a second line of defense against the virus.
Health & Wellness platform for COVID-19 symptoms is the perfect place to start. The platform allows businesses to implement end-to-end virus control services in the workplace.
If your team remains largely unvaccinated, consider asking employees to screen themselves for symptoms before coming to work. An easy, self-guided questionnaire is all it takes: staff members answer a number of questions every morning before they leave their homes. Test results are automatically uploaded to the company dashboard and visible to your HR team in real-time. All of this is done conveniently via an app.
Should your staff’s answers indicate an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, the app directs them towards COVID-19 testing and professional medical advice.
On-site temperature checks are another option to make workplaces safer. As an employer, you can choose between having a medical professional available to conduct these checks or using thermal cameras and self-check stands.
Anyone displaying potential COVID-19 symptoms should take a rapid antigen or PCR test. Rather than asking employees to visit their doctor or another testing site, offering onsite testing is safe and affordable.
Rapid antigen tests deliver results in as little as 15 minutes. PCR test results may take between 24 to 48 hours because the sample needs to be sent to a laboratory. Both tests produce accurate results if they are carried out correctly. Medical professionals are trained for this, allowing them to complete rapid tests with over 80% accuracy.
Because of the simplicity of this type of testing, employers can use it frequently and cost-efficiently to limit their team’s risk of COVID-19 infection. Repeated testing is useful because results can be affected by the timing of the test.
Any tests carried out on the day the person became infected are likely to deliver a negative result. This is not because the test is faulty, but because there are not yet enough viral particles in a person’s nose to detect COVID-19.
PCR tests lead to more reliable results than rapid antigen tests. Using rapid tests as a first stage and then following up with PCR tests as needed delivers the most reliable results.
As the number of COVID-19 infections continues to grow throughout the United States, employers need to take responsibility for the safety of their teams. Vaccinations remain the most effective way to minimize infection and serious illness.
Where vaccination rates remain low, daily screening for symptoms combined with regular onsite testing is a cost-effective way to help limit the impact of the third wave of the virus.
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.