Skilled At Work

Covid Is on the Rise. Here's How Businesses Can Stay Safe This Fall

A recent increase in Covid-19 cases is expected to continue into the fall and winter months.

With Covid-19 cases rising once again, it may be time to revisit your pandemic-era return-to-office plans.

Hospitalizations from Covid rose more than 15 percent between the week ending August 19 and August 26, 2023, according to data from the CDC. Positive cases are likely to increase in the coming fall and winter months when respiratory viruses typically peak and new variants surface. To minimize the impact of new Covid cases, many businesses and schools across the country have restored temporary masking mandatesThe Wall Street Journal reported.

To determine whether mask policies are advisable, companies should keep an eye on local and national transmission rates. The CDC recommends looking at hospital admission levels to help decide what prevention steps to take. When the Covid hospital admission level is medium (10 to 20 new hospital admissions per 100,000 people), those at serious risk of getting sick should wear high-quality masks or respirators (e.g., N95s) when indoors in public. At high admission levels (more than 20 new hospital admissions per 100,000 people), employees should wear a mask, and at-risk individuals should avoid public spaces. The CDC recommends that those who test positive for Covid wear a mask around others for 10 days or until they've tested negative 48 hours apart.

The CDC also notes that even if transmission levels are low in your area, it's important to ensure employees understand what to do when exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and how long to isolate before returning to work.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the latest vaccine booster, which should be available at pharmacies, doctor's offices, and other vaccination sites within a few days, the WSJ reports. It may help to remind employees to get their booster shots. While 270 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine in the U.S., only around 56 million have received an updated (bivalent) booster dose.