Employee Guidance Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This page contains the latest Center-wide communications on COVID-19.  All previous messages are archived here.


General COVID-19 Resources

  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.

Telehealth resources in SC

Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Employee Rights Poster


 


June 25, 2020

We have been notified that three more GGC employees have tested positive for COVID-19. First, it is our understanding that all three of these individuals are at home and doing well. Second, none are related exposures and seem to have been contracted outside of GGC as we can determine based upon timelines and interactions.
 
Two individuals work in the molecular diagnostic lab and were each last in the lab last week at different times. The areas where each of these employees reported being were chemically disinfected with the fogging machine this past Friday as a precaution before we were aware of any positive testing. The third employee works in the McAlhany wing of the Research building. This employee was last in the office on June 18th. We have contacted employees who may have been exposed to these individuals. We are following current CDC guidelines for healthcare facilities when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
 
Employees who may have been exposed to this individual may return to their work area if they have no fever and no symptoms, have temperature screenings twice a day, wear masks at all times, maintain appropriate social distancing, wash their hands well and frequently, and disinfect common contact areas. All of these recommendations are practices that we should all be doing every day. This should serve as a reminder that we all need to follow these rules every day to protect ourselves and to protect each other. We have asked the cleaning crew to be extra diligent in cleaning. We remind all employees to wipe down your local work area and common use surfaces frequently.

As a reminder, please do not come to work if you are not feeling well. If you begin to feel ill while at work, please isolate yourself from others and leave the campus safely. You will need to inform HR and your supervisor if you are not feeling well or have been around someone who has contracted the illness. HR will reach out to you for details, information, and instructions. When we are informed someone is positive, it may seem like we are asking personal questions. We are required by OSHA to investigate and report our findings. At a minimum, we are to do the following: (1) ask the employee how they believe they contracted the COVID-19 illness; (2) discuss with the employee their work and out-of-work activities that may have led to the illness; and (3) review the employee's work environment for potential exposure.

Additionally, this week, the city councils of Greenville and Columbia passed emergency ordinances requiring face masks in public in certain situations. There are fines for individuals violating the ordinances. In Columbia, there is also a fine for businesses if our employees don’t comply in the office.

Please continue to do your part to protect yourself, your co-workers, and our patients. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR or myself.

Stay safe,
Dawn

 


June 22, 2020

 

Below are COVID-related announcements from today’s Monday morning meeting…

  • Dr. Skinner’s employee meeting presentation from Friday has been recorded and can be viewed here.
  • Employees with any COVID-related issues or questions, please contact Janet in HR.
  • While some in-person appointments are resuming in all GGC offices, virtual visits will continue to be the primary visit type, likely through July.
  • The research building will continue to be locked through July.
  • Case Review will be held virtually this Wednesday, June 24. The link to participate is here.

 

 

June 15, 2020

Below are COVID-19 related announcements from the Monday morning meeting… 

  • GGC is continuing with plans to begin seeing some patients in-person this week. However, for the foreseeable future, virtual visits will continue to be our primary mode of patient care.
  • GGC plans to have all employees back to a full schedule by July 1. However, some employees will continue to work remotely for at least part of their time, as their duties allow.
  • If any employees have questions regarding the regulations regarding PTO or other HR issues, please contact Janet or Talitha.
  • Dr. Mike Friez noted that all Greenwood lab directors are now back on site full time.
  • Dr. Skinner reminded employees to continue to practice safety precautions including hand washing, social distancing, health/temperature screening, and wearing masks. He noted that these are not recommendations, but are requirements.

 

 

June 8, 2020

Below are announcements related to COVID-19 from today’s Monday morning meeting. 

  • Telegenetics will remain the predominant manner of clinic visits through June, but offices are working on plans to resume some in-person appointments in the coming weeks.
  • As more employees return to the office on more regular schedules, the Greenwood campus breakrooms are reopening for eating with limitations. Only one employee is allowed per table, social distancing is required, and cleaning supplies are available. Employees must clean tables and chairs after use.
  • With a few exceptions, most employees will likely be on a full schedule in the office by July 1.
  • The GGC Board of Directors is meeting virtually today. Topics of discussion include the impact of COVID-19 on GGC operations and the 2021 fiscal year budget. Dr. Skinner plans a GGC-wide meeting in the coming weeks to review the next fiscal year’s budget.
  • June’s Case Review will be a virtual meeting. More information will follow.
 

 

 

June 4, 2020

The GGC has an employee who was exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The exposure occurred outside of work. The GGC employee is asymptomatic. We have asked the GGC employee to remain at home on home-isolation for 14 days from the potential exposure and to self-monitor for symptoms.

As an additional precaution, we will be using a fogging device to chemically disinfectant the areas of potential contamination. This will be done by GGC staff using a different compound than before. It is recommended that people stay out of the area for 20 minutes after the fogging. To be safe, we are requiring employees in these areas to leave at 4 pm today and not return until tomorrow. The areas involved in the fogging are: the balcony, offices, restrooms and hallways on the second floor of the Treatment Center (the section between the labs), the elevator and stairway (in the middle of the building) to the second floor, the accession area and the large conference room in the Treatment Center. This device and chemical compound will have more humidity associated with it, so if you have any special papers on your desk, you may want to place them in a drawer or cover them.

We have assessed the risk to be low to other GGC employees from this potential exposure and are taking extra precautions to lower this risk. As always, it is very important for everyone to wear their masks, follow social distancing policies, wash your hands and stay home if you are feeling ill.


 

May 27, 2020

Below are notes from today’s Case Review meeting regarding COVID-19. A State of the Center meeting is being planned for June, and Dr. Skinner will share more details.

  • A total of two GGC employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Thankfully, neither required hospitalization, and both have recovered.
  • To our knowledge, six employees have tested negative for COVID-19
  • Dr. Skinner shared slides reviewing clinical encounter numbers, monthly charges, and collections throughout the past five months indicating that GGC will likely not feel the full economic impact of the pandemic until June or July.
  • A small business loan that GGC received will hopefully get the Center through the time of decreased income.
  • The pandemic has led to changes in SC’s state budgeting process. We anticipate receiving the same level of state funding as we did this current fiscal year. GGC expected to have additional new funding from the state for next fiscal year; however, that has been removed from the state budget.
  • GGC’s budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning on July 1, is ongoing. The budget will be presented to the GGC board of Directors on June 8. Next year’s total budget is approximately 10% lower than this year’s budget.
  • Dr. Skinner also noted several positive accomplishments throughout the pandemic including accelerating the use of technology for meetings and patient visits, improvement in digital patient forms, and more clinical standardization.
  • He also thanked all employees for their dedication to patient care and willingness to adapt to work disruptions and compliance with safety measures such as staying home when sick, handwashing, wearing face masks, social distancing, and cleaning.
  • In-person patient visits are likely to begin to be phased in by mid-June, through most patients will continue to be seen virtually through at least the month of June.
  • GGC administration is planning for the recovery phase of getting back to more normal operations with a priority on employee and patient safety. They are also considering and planning for the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Should you have questions regarding this summary, please discuss with your supervisor or division director.


May 21, 2020

We have been notified that a second GGC employee has tested positive for COVID-19. First, this individual is at home and doing well at this time. 

This individual works in the molecular diagnostic lab and was last in the lab on Saturday, May 16th. We have contacted employees who may have been exposed to this individual. We are following current CDC guidelines for healthcare facilities when an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Employees who may have been exposed to this individual may return to their work area if they have no fever and no symptoms, have temperature screenings twice a day, wear masks at all times, maintain appropriate social distancing, wash their hands well and frequently, and disinfect common contact areas. All of these recommendations are practices that we should all be doing every day. This should serve as a reminder that we all need to follow these rules every day to protect ourselves and to protect each other.

We have asked the cleaning crew to be extra diligent in cleaning the areas of potential contamination. We remind all employees to wipe down your local work area and common use surfaces frequently. We have scheduled a chemical disinfection process for Thursday, May 21 in the afternoon. We will instruct individual employees if they need to vacate an area.

As a reminder, please do not come to work if you are not feeling well. If you begin to feel ill while at work, please isolate yourself from others and leave the campus safely. The virus is still in our community. Please continue to do your part to protect yourself and your co-workers. If you have any concerns or questions, please talk with your supervisor or any of the administration team.

Stay safe,

Steve


 

May 18, 2020

Mo 1day Morning Update – Announcements from today’s morning meeting…

  • Employees are reminded to wash hands often, clean frequently touched surfaces, wear masks, social distance, and stay home if sick.
  • Health and temperature screenings are running smoothly.
  • Employees should stay in touch with their supervisor regarding changes to scheduling and coming back into the office.
  • GGC administration is clarifying policies regarding on-campus visitors, patients, and patient families. We expect to gradually begin seeing some patients in the office starting in June, especially those for whom telegenetics is not a good option.
  • Dr. Skinner addressed concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus through ventilation systems in GGC buildings. He noted that increased airflow dilutes viral particles, and GGC buildings have high airflow in most areas. The Center’s air recirculation, air filters, as well as wearing masks will help in reducing the risk of contracting airborne viral particles.

Also, as restrictions are being lifted and more workplaces are reopening, we wanted to share the Cleveland Clinic's Guidelines regarding ways to keep employees, visitors, and patients safe as businesses resume more normal operations. GGC is using this document as a resource, along with guidance from the CDC, DHEC, and other authorities, to help guide many of our policies and procedures.

At GGC, we will slowly begin to bring more employees into the office, and we expect to resume some in-person patient appointments in June. Admin and your division director will communicate specific plans as those unfold.

To those of you who have been working on-site over the past few weeks, we can’t thank you enough for the dedication you have shown to your work and your willingness to comply with policies put in place to keep you, your coworkers, and your families well.

To those working remotely, thank you for your flexibility in adapting to a new way of doing business. We all look forward to being back together in a safe environment.

Below are a few highlights from the Cleveland Clinic’s publication, but we encourage everyone to review the entire document.

  • No single strategy is perfect in preventing the spread of coronavirus. However, as numerous strategies (masks, hand washing, social distancing, temperature screening, etc) are layered together, the risk drops significantly (The Swiss cheese model p.5).
  • Instructions for effectively wearing masks (p.7) and washing hands (p. 8)
  • Guidelines for employee health screening (p.9)
  • Cleaning frequently-touched surfaces (p.10)
  • Social distancing (p.11)
  • Managing illness (p.14)
  • Tips for employee well-being and managing stress (p. 15-16).
    Remember that GGC offers an employee assistance program (EAP). Contact HR or our EAP provider for more information. Their contact information can be found on the employee portal. Click Resources – Health – Employee Assistance Program.

 

May 11, 2020

 

Below are GGC operational announcements from today’s Monday morning meeting

  • GGC started health screening this morning for all employees, visitors and patients entering GGC offices. Thanks for everyone’s compliance and patience as this gets underway. Feel free to contact administration if you have any concerns with the process.
  • Precautions to contain the spread of COVID-19 (health screening hand washing, social distancing, masks, etc.) were discussed. While no single method is sufficient, as these measures are layered together they do have a significant impact on the transmission of the virus.
  • Administrative team continues discussions regarding plans to get back to more normal operations in the coming weeks. This will be done in a gradual manner with each division director handling specifics for their area.
  • Dr. Lyons shared that patient volume (through virtual visits) is similar to the numbers seen before COVID.

 

May 8, 2020

 

COVID-19 Employee and Visitor Screening Procedures

Effective May 11, 2020, all employees reporting to work, contractors, visitors, and patients on-site for clinical appointments will be screened for respiratory symptoms and have their body temperature taken as a precautionary measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

It is expected that no employee will report to work if they are running a fever or sick. Symptoms concerning for potential COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pains, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea, and sore throat.

Screening will include having his or her temperature taken with a contactless temperature monitor and answering brief questions about any symptoms. Screening stations will be set up at the following locations:

  • Treatment Center – TC Break Room
  • Administration Building – Lobby
  • Education Building – Array Breakroom
  • Research Building – Front Office
  • Greenville Clinic – Reception Area
  • Columbia Clinic – Reception Area
  • Charleston Clinic – Reception Area

Individuals will be screened privately. Temperature readings and answers to health questions will be maintained as a private medical record. Time spent waiting for health screening should be recorded as time worked for nonexempt employees. Screening is only required once when arriving at work for the first time each day. Re-screening after returning from lunch is not required. Any individual with a temperature reading over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or who is experiencing any respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) will: 

  • Not be allowed to enter any GGC facilities

  • Have their name, temperature, and health responses securely logged

  • Be advised to contact their primary healthcare provider

An individual can return to a GGC facility when they have met the following criteria:

  • For those who tested negative for COVID-19 or were not instructed to self-isolate:
    • 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)

  • For individuals who tested positive for COVID-19:
    • Two negative tests for COVID-19 obtained at least 24 hours apart.

  • For individuals who were instructed to self-isolate because of presumptive COVID-19 but did not have testing:
    • A minimum of ten days since the onset of symptoms and three days with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and
    • Improvement in other symptoms.

If employees feel well enough to work, but do not meet screening guidelines to be on-site, they should work with their direct supervisor on options for working remotely. All who enter GGC facilities are required to follow GGC guidelines related to social distancing, hand washing, and the wearing of masks. 

FAQs

How does it work?
Before entering any GGC facility, individuals will stop at a screening station. These stations will be staffed by fellow GGC employees. You will have your temperature taken by a touchless thermometer and you will be asked questions about your general health. If your temperature is less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be given a sticker that you will need to put on your employee badge for the rest of your time at work that day. If you arrive to your unit without a sticker, you will be asked to return to a screening site.

Why are we doing this?
Screening of employees before they report to work is intended to provide additional safeguards to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Who is required to have their temperatures checked?
Those who will need to be screened include all staff, visitors, contractors & patients entering a GGC facility.

Where will screening stations be located?
The screening locations will be as follows:

  • Treatment Center – TC Break Room
  • Administration Building - Lobby
  • Education Building - Array Breakroom
  • Research Building - Front office
  • Greenville Clinic - Reception Area
  • Columbia Clinic - Reception Area
  • Charleston Clinic - Reception Area

When will screening occur?
Screening will be available during normal business hours (8AM – 5PM). Any individuals who come into the office before 8AM will be required to be screened at 8AM before continuing work. In Greenwood, screenings will be offered in each building from 8:00 – 9:30AM. After 9:30 AM, all screenings in Greenwood will take place in the Admin building. All employees or visitors arriving after 9:30AM will be screened in the Admin building. Patients will appointments after 9:30AM will be screened by clinical personnel.

Are any employees exempt from the screening requirement?
No

What happens if my temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above?
You will be not be permitted to report to work as scheduled. The staff member at the screening station will log the results and you will be requested to return home.

Will any information be collected about me if my temperature is elevated?
The screener will log your name, temperature and any respiratory symptoms. This information will be provided to GGC HR via a secure, HIPAA-compliant digital form.

Are there things that could elevate my temperature?
Yes, we advise you not to drink hot or cold liquids or smoke 10 minutes before your temperature screen.

If I am not allowed to work, will I be paid for my shift?
Considering the new federal Families First leave regulations, GGC PTO, or other established leave policies, each individual situation will need to be assessed by GGC HR to determine what pay options may apply.

What happens if I refuse to have my temperature taken?
If you refuse to have your temperature taken, you will be required to use PTO for the time you are away from work and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.


 

May 4, 2020

Below are announcements from today’s Monday morning meeting as related to GGC operations.

  • SC Governor Henry McMaster has lifted the stay home/work order effective today.
  • As SC and the US moves toward reopening, GGC is making plans to reopen gradually and in a manner that will be safe for both employees and patients. Each division director will guide the best practices for their area including staggered work schedules.
  • The administrative team is finalizing a policy to take effect on May 11 to require daily health screenings for anyone entering GGC buildings (employees, patients, and visitors) which will include touchless temperature screening and health questions. More details will be shared when that policy is complete.
  • Once more employees are back in the office, precautionary measures including hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks will continue. It is likely that meetings will continue to be virtual. Once it is deemed safe to reopen breakrooms, that will happen on a gradual basis.
  • Virtual visits are continuing to go well and returning to in-person visits will be a gradual and deliberate process. Virtual visits will likely continue as the primary visit type at least through the month of May.
  • GGC has sufficient washable cloth masks for each employee to have three. These have been distributed to satellite offices and division directors. Disposable surgical masks have also been sent to each clinical office to use when patients do begin returning for in-person visits. GGC also has some N95 masks which will be used mainly by those doing the health screenings. Two face shields have been ordered per office as well for any high risk encounters.
  • If employees are facing child care issues or other concerns related to COVID-19, those should be discussed with HR.
 
  • Please keep in mind that as the situation changes, our response and policies may change as well.

Future changes to operations will be communicated via email and will be shared on this page of the GGC employee portal. 


Previous employee messages (listed below) are archived here. 

  • April 29, 2020 Update
  • April 27, 2020 Update
  • April 20, 2020 Update
  • April 14, 2020 Update
  • April 13, 2020 Update
  • April 8, 2020 Update
  • April 7, 2020 Update
  • April 6, 2020 Update
  • March 30, 2020 Slides
  • March 26, 2020 Update
  • March 23, 2020 Update
  • March 16, 2020 Update

 


 


 

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