QUESTION: What is the policy at Christus Good Shepherd as well as Longview Regional Medical Center regarding employees working after they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19? Local health care workers have told me they’re being told they should not quarantine but continue working unless they are symptomatic or test positive. Is that true?
ANSWER: Both hospitals told me they are following guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Christus Good Shepherd Health System is following Centers for Disease Control updated recommendations for returning to work, which can be found at CDC.gov,” said Will Knous, spokesman for Christus Good Shepherd.
Libby Bryson, spokeswoman for Longview Regional, said the hospital monitors the CDC’s website daily to make sure the facility follows the current guidelines: “Our employee health team is following the corporate recommendations and CDC guidelines regarding employee exposure. There is really a pretty complicated matrix to follow based on risk level and type of exposure.... We also require staff to wear masks when engaging with patients and visitors to protect all parties.”
The CDC has issued volumes upon volumes of guidance for various businesses, individuals and situations regarding how to deal with the threat of COVID-19 and how people should behave after being exposed to the disease, and Bryson wasn’t kidding about the complicated matrix. Here’s an example:
I found a June 18 chart, for instance, that addresses several situations when it comes to health care workers’ exposed to COVID-19 while at work. Health care personnel who had close contact for more than 15 minutes with another health care worker, patient or visitor with COVID-19 are supposed to exclude from work for 14 days if: the health care worker wasn’t wearing a respirator or face mask; or if the worker wasn’t wearing eye protection if the person with COVID-19 wasn’t wearing a cloth face covering or face mask; or if the worker wasn’t wearing a gown, gloves, eye protection and respirator while performing an “aerosol-generating procedure.”
Health care workers with any other kind of exposure at work wouldn’t have restrictions unless they have symptoms.
There are lot so other guidelines that could affect health care workers, and all of us, on the CDC website.
Q: Are chickens allowed inside Longview city limits?
A: Yes, they are, as are other kinds of poultry, including turkeys and geese.
Some rules apply, though. Longview city ordinances require they be kept in an enclosure on their property at all times, with an enclosure defined as “a house or building, or in case of a fence or structure or pen, it must have secure sides, top and a secure bottom.
“The structure or pen shall provide protection from the weather,” the ordinance says. “No chickens, turkeys, geese or other poultry shall be kept in any enclosure within the city, any part of which enclosure is within 100 feet of any adjoining property within the city other than the building or dwelling occupied by the owner of the animals.”
Q: I sometimes see a graph on news-journal.com with COVID-19 stories that tracks the positive cases in Gregg County. Where do I find that graph?
A: That’s some nifty information put together by our digital editor, Scott Brunner. It tracks not just the total number of new COVID-19 cases each day but the positivity rate. Find it here: tinyurl.com/greggviruscases .