COVID-19 Safety Guidance – Vaccinations, Minor Outbreaks, and Travel
Author: Human Resources
12/23/2020 11:39:20 AM
COVID-19 Safety Guidance – Vaccinations, Minor Outbreaks, and Travel
COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Employees
Protecting you and your co-workers from COVID-19 is a top priority for the County. We continue to take action to ensure a safe workplace and we appreciate your diligence in doing your part every day to protect one another and the people we serve. As part of its continued effort to keep you informed, HR’s safety team will send regular emails to all employees while COVID-19 remains a significant health risk. Today’s message provides information about vaccinations, new protocols in the event of a minor outbreak, and a reminder about quarantine requirements for out-of-state travel.
We are excited to be expanding COVID-19 vaccinations for our community and County staff in the coming days, week, and months. As you are probably aware, vaccine doses are in very limited supply which requires the County and other agencies to begin by vaccinating populations at greatest risk of exposure and/or health complications by means of a phased vaccination process.
The vaccination situation is dynamic and our plan will evolve based upon how much vaccine the County receives and recommendations from the State and Federal government. More information is coming in daily and we will provide updates as the plan evolves.
Here is some information regarding the phased vaccination:
- The County is following the CDC's phased approach for administering COVID-19 vaccine.
- The State and Federal Government will make recommendations for who should receive the vaccine in which phase. The County also has a COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force comprised of 30 different entities to make policy decisions on vaccine allocation.
- These are the CDC phases:
- Phase 1a: Healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents
- Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers, Persons aged 75 years and older
- Phase 1c: Persons 65-74 years, persons 16-64 years with high-risk conditions, essential workers not recommended in Phase 1b
- Phase 2: All people age 16 and older not in Phase 1 who are recommended for vaccination
- We are currently in Phase 1a of vaccine administration. We will be entering Phase 1b and 1c in the coming months.
- Because a limited number of vaccines is currently available, our Public Health Officer and COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force will prioritize workers within each phase based on their role.
- For example, in Phase 1a, County employees who provide direct clinical care such as behavioral health clinicians, Licensed Psychiatric Technicians, Public Health Nurses, and Occupational Therapists/Physical Therapists are eligible to be vaccinated. Support staff who work in clinical settings will be offered vaccination shortly after the licensed clinicians who have direct patient contact. In Phase 1b and 1c, other critical workforce staff such as Wastewater Treatment Operators, Law Enforcement Officers and Emergency Operations Center staff may be eligible.
- You will be contacted when you become eligible to receive vaccination. Currently the County Emergency Operations Center is coordinating directly with those departments who have staff eligible to be vaccinated. Once we reach Phase 1b, the method of notifying employees who are eligible may change.
- Staff who fill the same position will also likely be vaccinated at different times, so that services that position provides are not impacted in the event any staff experience side effects from the vaccine (such as a fever) and are unable to report to work.
We encourage you to visit this web page for more information: https://www.emergencyslo.org/en/vaccines.aspx
New Protocols in the Event of a Minor Outbreak
On November 30, Cal OSHA’s temporary emergency COVID order went into effect. The primary purpose is to mandate that employers are implementing the CDC and California Department of Public Health guidelines to protect employees. The County had already implemented their existing guidelines, so the order did not have immediate noticeable impacts to employees. However, as positive cases increase, we may reach what Cal OSHA has termed as a ‘minor outbreak’ at some of our worksites. A Minor Outbreak will not cause your department to close or cease operations unless there are special circumstances as determined by our Public Health Officer.
A Minor Outbreak has occurred when 3 or more workers who tested positive for COVID-19 worked the same worksite during a 14-day period. When this happens, all of the workers* who worked in that worksite** at some point during that 14-day period must be tested. They must also be tested the following week, and each following week until no new positive cases are detected in that worksite. The workers are not required to be quarantined unless directed to do so by the Public Health due to special circumstances. Per our regular COVID-19 protocols, employees who are tested because they are symptomatic may not return to the workplace until they are cleared by the Public Health Liaison.
As with all tests required due to workplace exposure, they are at no cost to employees and employees will be paid for the time required to be tested.
As with all positive cases in the workplace, Safety and Public Health will make an assessment if additional cleaning is necessary in addition to the routine cleaning that should be occurring daily per the County’s Workplace Sanitation Guidelines.
* Workers include employees, contracted workers, and vendors.
**A worksite is a common work area and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on the locations that the positive cases worked or spent a significant amount of time.
Quarantine Required for Out-of-state Travel
As a reminder, California’s guidance regarding quarantining following out-of-state travel remains in effect. Returning to California requires a 2-week quarantine unless you have been identified as an exception to these guidelines by the Public Health Department.
- If you are planning out-of-state travel, please notify your supervisor so that they may consider the impact of your quarantine on the operations.
- A negative swab result upon return cannot be a substitute for the quarantine period.
- While under quarantine, your department will monitor your quarantine time and manage your return to work (you can return to work on the 15th day following returning from travel out of state or country). If your position meets the CDC’s criteria for a Critical Infrastructure Worker with an essential function, as determined by the Public Health department, your quarantine may be reduced to 10 days.
Please contact your supervisor, your department safety rep, or HR’s Countywide safety team (ext. 5959 or [email protected]) if you have any questions. Your safety rep is listed here: https://myslo/DepartmentsNew/Human-Resources/Safety/Department-Specific-Safety-Programs.aspx.
For more information, we encourage you to visit our Re-opening Toolkit web page and readySLO.org.
Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in SLO County.
Human Resources – Countywide Safety