Prior Coronavirus employee messages


General COVID-19 Resources

 


April 29, 2020

GGC has received another order of reusable cloth face masks. We are allotting two masks for each employee, including those currently working remotely, as masks will likely be necessary once more employees are back in the office.

These masks are being provided to each division and are being sent via courier to each satellite office for employee distribution. If you are unable to access your masks though your supervisor or division director, contact Dawn (dhodges@ggc.org) , Judy (jfarmer@ggc.org) , or Patti (pjennings@ggc.org).

These masks should be washed before the first use and again after each use. The CDC recommends regular laundering in a washing machine between each use. More CDC guidance on face masks can be found here … https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-faq.html

Please remember face masks are not a substitute for social distancing and frequent hand washing. Please continue to follow all of these recommendations. Thank you all for your cooperation during this pandemic to keep each other safe and well.

REMINDER:

All Center-wide messages regarding COVID-19 can be found on the employee portal of the GGC website.
https://www.ggc.org/portal/

 


April 27, 2020

Below is a recap of this morning’s meeting regarding COVID-19 information.

  • Dr. Skinner thanked all employees for their continued efforts and compliance with handwashing, social distancing, wearing masks in the office, and staying home if ill. GGC is continuing to operate on a modified schedule with many employees working remotely. The priority continues to be the health and safety of our employees as well as the financial stability of the organization and our workforce.
  • While discussions are ongoing, there is no defined timeline for returning to normal operations. The clinical division is working to acquire personal protective equipment and planning to safely manage in-person visits, though there is no decision on when those will resume.
  • Washable mask orders have been delayed due to the limited supply of elastic. We expect to have more masks available next week to distribute.
  • Virtual patient visits continue to go well, and the diagnostic lab reports an increase in sample volume.
  • Summer activities report:

     

    • The online summer teacher’s course is continuing; however, the on-site workshop will be moved to a virtual experience for teachers.
    • Summer internships have been postponed with several of the students doing projects off-site.
    • No decision has been made regarding the summer high school camp which is planned for mid-July.

Thanks to everyone for your cooperation and hard work! Stay well!


April 20, 2020

Below is an update of announcements from the Monday morning meeting.

  • GGC continues to operate on a modified schedule with staggered scheduling, telecommuting, and virtual patient visits.
  • Discussions are happening at the state-level about reopening businesses. GGC is following those discussions carefully, and with the health and safety of our employees at the forefront, we will adhere to guidance on when and how to safely resume normal operations as that becomes possible.
  • GGC’s second order of washable cloth masks for employees that was expected on Friday was delayed due to the supply of elastic. We expect to have those available by Wednesday of this week. A third order has been placed and should arrive by the end of April or beginning of May.
  • Employees are reminded to continue to practice social distancing and wearing masks in the office when that is not possible. Cloth masks should be laundered after each wear. Wash your hands frequently and stay home if you are sick.
  • Visitors to campus are being restricted to only those who are essential. All essential visitors will be asked to confirm they are well and will be required to wear a face mask and gloves (if they are touching anything) while working at GGC.
  • Saturday, April 25th is DNA Day. Communications and Education encourage you to follow along with the virtual celebration on GGC’s Facebook and Twitter pages. For a fun distraction, take part in the daily Facebook quizzes every day this week!


April 14, 2020

 

GGC has received part of an order of reusable cloth face masks. The remainder of the order will be delivered by the end of this week.

Masks for those who are regularly working in the office are being distributed by division directors, and some have been sent via courier to the satellite offices. Once the rest of the order has arrived, those will be distributed as needed.

There are also still some disposable masks available at the front desk of the admin building if you have not received one or are in need of a replacement.

The new cloth masks are reusable but should be washed after each use. The CDC recommends normal laundering in a washing machine as the best method for washing between uses. More details on wearing and washing a cloth face mask can be found here.


 


April 13, 2020

 

To All GGC Employees:

Unfortunately, we learned today that a GGC employee has been identified with confirmed COVID-19. This individual works in the Greenwood clinic area. We are working with local healthcare professionals and SC DHEC to ensure that this individual is receiving the appropriate testing, treatment, and care. This individual is at home and is improving as far as symptoms at this time.

This individual has not been in the Treatment Center building since Monday, April 6th. This individual has not been in other buildings besides the first floor of the Treatment Center. Information from the individual indicates that there was limited contact with other employees that day. This employee was not at the GGC in the 72 hours prior to symptoms, so the potential exposure risk was on Monday, April 6th. The CDC defines potential exposure as contact of more than 10 minutes within a distance of 6 feet. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed or feel ill, please discuss this with your supervisor or HR. Please monitor yourself for the next 7 days for any fever, cough or other symptoms of an illness. If you feel ill, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider regarding appropriate care and possible testing.

The CDC states that after 7 days of potential surface contamination no special cleaning is needed. However, we have hired a cleaning company to disinfect the first floor of the Treatment Center on Tuesday, April 14th. We are requesting all employees located on the first floor of the Treatment Center to remain at home or talk with your supervisor about an alternate work site for this one day (Tuesday, April 14th.) It will be safe to return to work in that area on Wednesday, April 15th.

We are also working with local healthcare professionals, SC DHEC and GGC supervisors to identify GGC employees that may have been exposed and to determine appropriate next steps for them. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed, please isolate yourself from others and contact your supervisor for guidance. At a minimum, monitor yourself for fever or signs of illness. Stay home if sick.

We want to keep all our employees safe. Please do your part by washing your hands well and frequently, staying home if you are sick, practice social distancing and wearing a mask unless isolated in your own office. We are continuing to monitor this current situation, as well as local, state and national advisories. We will continue to do our best to keep you informed and safe.

Steven A. Skinner, MD

 

COVID-19 updates from the Monday Morning meeting.

  • GGC has been approved for a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan for small businesses affected by COVID-19. This 8 week, forgivable loan will help cover some GGC operational and payroll costs.
  • Face masks were distributed on Friday. All employees who are unable to socially distance should now be wearing a face mask in the office. A few washable, reusable cloth masks have been ordered with priority for employees in the office who cannot socially distance. More information will be available once they arrive.
  • The clinical team has been increasing the number of patients seen through telegenetics, and they are getting close to full capacity. A list of prior patients for whom whole exome sequencing would be the next step, has been generated and is being reviewed by clinicians to help increase lab testing.
  • For employees who had planned to attend ACMG in March, Dawn Puderbaugh Hodges shared guidelines for handling canceled registration fees, flights, and hotels. Contact Dawn (dhodges@ggc.org) if you have any questions about handling those reimbursements.
  • Dr. Skinner stressed that the health and safety of our employees continues to be the most important thing during this pandemic. He thanked all employees for their flexibility and hard work to keep GGC operational during this difficult time. He also reminded everyone to continue with frequent handwashing and social distancing.

 


April 8, 2020

 

GGC’s administrative team continues to meet regularly to review the latest information regarding COVID-19 and discuss operational changes for the Center. Our goals are to keep all of our employees safe and healthy while continuing to provide important GGC services to the families who depend on us. We are grateful to all of you who are pulling together in difficult circumstances to keep each other well, and we will continue to do everything we can to protect your jobs and financial security during this situation.

We are extending current policies (distributed on 3/26) regarding work schedules and PTO, through April 30, unless state and federal guidelines change. Reminders of these policies are below:

WORK SCHEDULES AND PTO

  • All employees who are able to work remotely should be doing so. If you are not working from home, but feel that your job could be done effectively from home, please discuss this with your supervisor.
  • Employees who are working regular or modified schedules as instructed by their supervisor, either onsite or remotely, will continue to be paid as if they worked a regularly-scheduled work week and will not need to use PTO.
  • Employees who are absent from work because of circumstances covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will be paid according to these new regulations. See FFCRA poster or contact HR for details.
  • Employees who have pre-planned PTO, need FMLA or other federally-mandated unpaid leave for reasons other than that associated with COVID-19, or wish to take time away from work for other reasons, will need to use PTO. This will need to be approved by your supervisor as usual and must be recorded in the time system following the normal process.

FACE MASKS

As announced yesterday, employees who are in the office must wear a face mask/covering anytime they are unable to socially distance from coworkers. This should begin immediately but will be enforced beginning Monday, April 13.

INFECTION PREVENTION STRATEGIES

We continue to stress the importance of frequent hand washing and maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet between you and others at all times. If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home and notify your supervisor and HR as soon as possible.

If you have questions about your individual situation or have any concerns with how health and safety are being handled in your work area, please address those with your supervisor, division director, HR, or directly with me.

I am proud to be associated with each and every one of you as you display incredible teamwork and resolve through a very challenging situation!

Stay well!

Steve Skinner

 


April 7, 2020

 

Expressing Concerns

GGC remains committed to the safety of our patients and our employees during this current pandemic environment. In a very short period of time, we have had to implement changes to your work schedules and work environments to adhere to federal and state mandates put in place to lessen exposure to and the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At the same time, we are trying to meet the needs of the patients we serve and maintain the financial security of our employees while keeping ‘business as usual’.

Since our plans have had to continuously change as the situation around us evolves, we have asked supervisors and directors to evaluate processes, essential duties, and how work can continue while maintaining social distancing. If you have concerns about your duties, your work environment, or social distancing in your area, or around the Center for that matter, we encourage you to voice any concerns to your immediate supervisor. If you believe your concerns are not being addressed, please contact your divisional director, HR, Dawn Puderbaugh Hodges or Dr. Skinner.

Human Resources: tkay@ggc.org or jstill@ggc.org

Dawn Puderbaugh Hodges: dhodges@ggc.org

Dr. Skinner: sas@ggc.org

 

GGC Face Mask Guidelines

GGC is committed to protecting the health of all of our employees.

The CDC has issued guidelines recommending the use of face masks or coverings in public settings, as many individuals who carry and can transmit the COVID-19 virus remain asymptomatic.

GGC is implementing a face mask requirement in all offices for employees who are unable to completely socially distance themselves while at work. This requirement will go into effect no later than Monday, April 13. Face masks/coverings are not necessary when you are alone in your office, and masks are not a substitute for social distancing where that is possible.

GGC does not have sufficient masks to provide for all employees, and the CDC does not recommend wearing medical masks, as those should be reserved for healthcare professionals who are treating patients directly.

The CDC guidelines on face coverings, along with a video with instructions on making a simple face covering from household items, can be found here.

More information from the CDC, including how to wear and wash face masks, as well as a few other templates (including both sewn and no-sew versions), can be found here.

 

'Home or Work' Order 

Yesterday, SC Governor Henry McMaster issued a ‘Home or Work’ order that goes into effect today (Tuesday, 4/7) at 5 pm. The order requires that residents across the state stay at home unless engaging in ‘essential activities’ which include traveling to or from work, visiting family, exercising, or obtaining medical care or necessary supplies (food, medicine, etc.).

You can read the full order here. Allowed activities are found in section 1E (page 8).

While it does not require that employees carry a letter from their employer, in the event you are stopped by authorities during your commute into work, GGC has created letters confirming your status as essential employees. If you are coming into the office, we suggest that you carry a copy of the letter along with your employee ID badge in your vehicle. Division directors and supervisors have been asked to provide copies of these letters to all employees who need to be in the office.

Thank you all for our commitment to GGC and our patients.

Stay safe and well!

*Remember to wash your hands often, stay 6 feet apart from others, and stay home if you are sick!


 


April 6, 2020

At today’s Monday morning meeting, GGC’s administrative team provided an update on GGC operations in response to COVID-19. We have provided a summary of the discussion to keep everyone informed.

  • Modified scheduling for all divisions had been implemented through the end of this week; however, as the COVID-19 situation continues, divisions are extending plans beyond this week. Division directors and supervisors will communicate any changes to their teams directly.
  • Dr. Skinner shared that GGC’s goal is to maintain all employee positions and pay for as long as possible. GGC has applied for funding through a government program to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • Patient visits and lab testing numbers have been down significantly over the past few weeks. GGC is working on several plans to increase both patient visits and lab testing.
    • Clinical staff are reaching out to currently scheduled patients to offer to see them in their home through telegenetics. All offices are currently seeing patients through telegenetics.
    • Some current patients are choosing to wait and be seen in person, so other available telegenetics slots can be filled by reaching out to the backlog of patients, no matter which office they were scheduled for initially. A workflow and plan for this is in progress.
    • Clinicians are reviewing previously seen patient cases where whole exome sequencing is the next step and considering moving forward with that testing.

     

  • Friday morning case conference and ‘Syndrome of the Week’ meetings will resume this Friday.

And don’t forget… wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing (keep 6 feet between you and others), and stay at home if you feel ill.

Thanks to you all for your flexibility and cooperation during this time of uncertainty.

As always, if you have specific concerns or questions, please discuss those with your supervisor.


 

March 30, 2020 update

 

GGC Operational Status Update slides - Shared at Monday morning meeting

 


March 26, 2020 update

Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Employee Rights Poster

Dear GGC Family,

I want to keep everyone informed of the current GGC plan and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I realize that many of you are anxious and scared for your safety, the safety of your families, and your financial security. I and the rest of the GGC Administrative Team share your concerns and are meeting daily to review all COVID-19 information available and are adjusting the GGC response as needed. Our primary concern is the safety of our patients and our employees. At the same time, we are trying to meet the needs of the patients we serve and maintain the financial security of our employees.

I want to thank each of you for your flexibility and cooperation as we have implemented many changes to work schedules and the work environment in order to protect each other. We will continue the current efforts to have as many as possible working remotely, the use of split and staggered shifts, the use of telehealth for patient visits and the use of video-conferencing to maintain social distancing. We also ask each of you, whether at home or at work, to wash your hands well and frequently and to practice social distancing. Please try to maintain at least a six-foot distance between you and your coworkers. If you are ill, please stay home and seek medical advice. Your supervisor or division director will notify you if there will be any changes to your current work schedule or arrangements. Our current operational plans and modified work schedule will be maintained until April 10th, unless new factors necessitate further changes.

There has been new Federal legislation that will provide additional options regarding how PTO is handled effective April 1, 2020. Please see the information below and the attached poster for clarification.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act- April 1, 2020

Recent federal legislation designed to assist employees with absences from work related to COVID-19 becomes effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. GGC does fall under the scope of this act and the regulations will apply to our employees. The attached document outlines the rights of an employee who may become ill from the virus and/or may be impacted by certain circumstances resulting from the prevalence of the virus in our community.

Employees who believe their situation falls within these guidelines should discuss with their supervisor and HR so that steps can be taken to facilitate proper and timely pay.

Use of Paid Time Off (PTO) - April 1, 2020

  • At this time, employees who are working regular or modified schedules as instructed by their supervisor, onsite or remotely, will continue to be paid as if they worked a regularly-scheduled work week.
  • Employees who are absent from work and whose circumstances fall under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will be paid according to these new regulations. See the above paragraph and attached information.
  • Employees who have pre-planned PTO, need FMLA or other federally mandated unpaid leave for reasons other than that associated with COVID-19, or wish to take time away from work for other reasons, will need to use PTO. This will need to be approved by your supervisor as normal and be recorded in the time system following the normal process.
  • Employees who have questions or concerns about their individual situation should address those with their supervisor, division director or HR.

We do not know how long these changes will last. We do not know what additional actions may be needed as this situation continues to evolve. We will continue to monitor all information closely and will continue to act to protect our patients and our employees. We will also continue to try to serve our patients safely through telehealth and maintain your financial security.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor, HR or me.

Stay safe, stay well, but stay apart,

Steve



March 23, 2020 update

Dear Team,

We are all following the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely, and I’m sure most of you are feeling anxious and uncertain. GGC, as well as organizations around the world, is in uncharted territory, but please be assured that our administration is closely monitoring information from all local, state, and national health authorities to help guide our workplace policies.

We are concerned about the safety and well-being of all of you, your families, and the patients we serve and are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this illness. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as work schedules are rearranged, home offices are set up, and new workflows are put into place to ensure that we can continue to support the families who depend on us.

Please continue to do your part by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, staying home if you are sick, and practicing social distancing, both in the office and out in the community.

The administrative team is staying in close communication, and we are meeting daily to assess the need for any additional actions.

Below you will find an update with the latest information on our current operations. We will continue to do our best to keep you all informed and safe.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor or me.

Stay well!

Steve Skinner
sas@ggc.org
(864) 941-8164 (office)
(864) 941-6591 (cell)

  • Is GGC still open?

GGC remains open but is operating with limited personnel on modified schedules.

  • What steps are being taken to protect employees?

Wherever possible, employees are working remotely. Where remote work is not possible, modified schedules are being used to allow social distancing. We have closed the use of all conference rooms, exercise rooms, and the common areas of the break rooms. We have propped open all internal doors. We have posted signs on all external doors that provide guidance for any visitors or delivery personnel. We have canceled all non-essential meetings and are using video conferencing capabilities to avoid face-to-face meetings.

Dr. Skinner’s brother has permission from DuPont to share this handwashing video – Things we all should know, but a good reminder of best practices... http://elearning.coastalflix.com/PLAYLIST/CUST36216/PL11273

  • What steps are being taken to protect patients?

The clinic is working to resume patient appointments through telemedicine directly to patient homes. Processes are being defined to allow for the collection of consent forms, patient history, and photos. Necessary samples are being collected through the expanded use of saliva kits without requiring patients to come into a clinic location.

  • Have any GGC employees tested positive for COVID-19?

At this time, we have not been made aware of any employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 or any employee who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

  • What should I do if I don’t feel well?

If you experience any symptoms of a contagious illness, do not come in to work. Please notify both your supervisor and Janet Still in HR (jstill@ggc.org). You will be asked to self-quarantine and follow the advice of your primary care physician.

  • After an illness, when can I return to work?GGC is following CDC guidelines with respect to returning to work after any suspected case of COVID-19. All of the following criteria must be met before returning to work:

     

    • No fever for at least 72 hours. That is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.
    • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has improved)
    • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

For anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, in addition to the above requirements, they must also have two negative COVID-19 tests in a row, done 24 hours apart, before being allowed to return to work.

  • When will GGC resume normal operations?

At this point, there is no clear timeline on when normal operations will resume. GGC leadership is meeting daily to monitor the situation and take appropriate actions as this situation evolves.

  • Is the tracking of PTO still suspended?

The tracking of PTO remains suspended through March 31st. GGC leadership is meeting to review what changes, if any, should be made to our existing policies going forward. Guidance will be sent out later in the week regarding how PTO will be handled after March 31.

 


March 16, 2020 Update

With the ongoing concern regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), GGC has adopted the following policies and measures to help keep our employees and patients safe.

  • What should I do if I am feeling sick?

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should call your primary healthcare provider. If you don’t have a primary care physician, several healthcare systems are providing telehealth services so you can be evaluated by a healthcare provider without having to leave your home. If it’s determined that you should be tested, you will be instructed where to go to be tested. Individuals with minor illnesses are advised not to go to emergency departments. 

You should contact your direct supervisor to inform them that you will not be available to work due to your illness. Supervisors should inform Janet Harris Still (JStill@ggc.org) as well.

Learn more about the CDC’s guidance for infection control in schools and childcare programs here.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the DHEC website or the CDC website.

  • What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

First and foremost, please follow all protocols as defined by your physician, DHEC and/or the CDC.  Please also inform both your direct supervisor and Janet Harris Still (JStill@ggc.org) so that GGC is aware of the situation and can take the necessary precautions to limit the spread of this illness.

  • Can I work from home?

All GGC supervisors are being asked to approve all reasonable requests to work from home wherever possible.  If you believe you can complete all of your required duties from home, please discuss it with your supervisor to get final approval.  Hourly employees will receive a separate email with instructions on how to report remote hours.

  • If I can’t work from home, do I need to come to the office?

Each Division Director is defining their division’s guidelines for which personnel should and should not come into the office.  This will include the identification of essential functions and may also include shifting schedules as needed.  Guidelines for your division will be communicated by your division director. Hourly employees will continue to utilize the current timekeeping system for recording hours worked on site.

  • If I am unable or not required to come into the office, do I need to take PTO?

To be as accommodating as possible in this unique situation, GGC is suspending the tracking of PTO until the end of March.  Employees will continue to be paid as if they worked a regularly scheduled workweek.  All employees are expected to maintain professional integrity at this time and not abuse this accommodation.

  • What if I am in an at-risk group due to my age or an existing health condition?

If you are in a higher risk group, you should take all necessary precautions to prevent infection.  Please discuss with your supervisor what accommodations can be made based on your risk factors and your specific job function. For information on at-risk individuals and what actions should be taken, please find the CDC guidance here.

  • Will we have Case Review in March?

Case Review for March has been canceled.

  • Will other meetings continue as scheduled?

Until further notice, Monday and Friday morning meetings are canceled. For all other scheduled meetings, please contact the meeting coordinator to find out if they will continue or not. Wherever possible, it is recommended for meetings to be held virtually using Zoom or Microsoft Teams, even when attendees are all in the office.

  • How will this impact planned travel?

All travel, including domestic travel, is strongly discouraged. Anyone who returns from international or domestic travel is asked to self-monitor at the very least (take temp twice a day, etc.). If you are unclear whether a planned trip should be canceled, please work with your supervisor for guidance.

  • Will visitors still be allowed on campus?

All non-essential visitors to GGC should be avoided. As it stands today, deliveries, including daily mail, will continue. Due to rotating personnel schedules, some building doors may be locked during business hours. In those instances, appropriate signage will be posted providing instructions.

Meet The Jones Family

Meet The Jones Family

The journey to becoming parents did not start as an easy one for my husband and I. We suffered the heartache of miscarriage and the unimaginable pain of burying our first born child. Our son, sweet 1 lb 1.4 ounce, 12 inches long, teeny, tiny little Joseph “Hamilton” Jones was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and a heart defect. It tore our hearts out leaving the hospital without him, knowing our dreams and hope for the future were shattered. ...

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