From the Chairman
This month I decided to turn our attention to COVID-19 and some of the questions Post Commanders and our members may have. The bottom line is that with this disease anything is possible. As I am writing this article, just after the Thanksgiving holidays, the surge from the holiday has brought the totals up to over 3,000 deaths in the United States. They are expecting this to be a daily figure until after the Christmas and New Year’s.
Is it possible to catch the coronavirus disease again?
The hope is that people who’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus will have immunity to it. When you have immunity, your body can recognize and fight off the virus that causes COVID-19. But it’s possible that people who’ve had COVID-19 can get sick again — and maybe infect other people.
Do I still need to quarantine for 14 days if I was around someone who has COVID-19?
Yes. You should still self-quarantine for 14 days since your last exposure. It can take up to 14 days after exposure to the virus for a person to develop COVID-19 symptoms. A negative result before end of the 14-day quarantine period does not rule out possible infection. By self-quarantining for 14 days, you lower the chance of possibly exposing others to COVID-19.
Take action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection:
In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:
- Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.
If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.
OSHA is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. The agency will be issuing a series of alerts designed to keep workers safe. As restaurants and beverage establishments resume offering dine-in service, the following steps can help reduce the risk of workers’ exposure to the coronavirus:
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
- Comply with state and local requirements for occupancy restrictions.
- Require all staff to wear face coverings.
- Increase cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, chairs, faucets and sinks, countertops, and touchpads.
- Wash, rinse, and sanitize dishware, utensils, and beverage equipment after each use.
- Maintain at least 6-feet between co-workers and customers, and avoid direct hand-to-hand contact, when possible.
- Use mobile ordering, text on arrival for seating, and contactless payment options when feasible.
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns to a supervisor. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/coronavirus or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
DID YOU KNOW? The Armed Services Blood Program is scheduled to implement sweeping changes to blood donor eligibility July 13 that will allow thousands more to donate to the Department of Defense’s own blood program. “This will be the first time since the early 2000’s that local national employees, as well as many military, retirees and veterans and family members who have lived in Europe for some time, will be eligible to help maintain the military’s blood supply,” said Blood Donor Recruiter Stacy Sanning. “We are very excited, as these changes will help ensure we can continue meeting the military’s blood needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future.” These eligibility changes are in response to updates in the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or the human form of “mad cow” disease, human immunodeficiency virus and malaria.
Thanks to Don Morrison of Posts 242
Update on the Convalescent Collection Program (CCP)
Hospital distributions of convalescent plasma increased 250% in November compared to September, according to the American Red Cross. The rise in hospitalizations of patients with coronavirus this fall, and winter is the reason the Red Cross said it distributed a record number of COVID-19 plasma products to hospitals treating patients with the virus. “We need donors across the board for two critical missions, to give blood and convalescent plasma,” said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of the American Red Cross. Sullivan said since the beginning of the pandemic, over 50,000 blood drives were canceled across the nation, impacting over 1 million blood donation appointments. “We are sending out convalescent plasma at a greater rate and it’s a way for people to help those currently battling COVID-19,” said Sullivan.
Please remember to continue your Post Blood Drives. Does your District have a Post candidate for the Margret Skaggs Award for the Best Post Blood Drives?
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. Please be safe, wear your mask!!
Raymond A. Perez
Blood Donation Chair