Here’s a recent holiday tradition we would all gladly do without: For the third consecutive year, the Christmas season has seen a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.
Fortunately, the numbers aren’t as alarming as during last year’s omicron surge. Still, the U.S. has experienced a steady increase in cases this month, with about 65,000 people testing positive daily as of mid-December. The New York Times reported on Dec. 19 that reported cases and hospitalizations nationally had both risen more than 40% since Thanksgiving. And with people spending more time with friends and extended family over the holidays, those numbers are only expected to grow.
Throw in a nasty flu season and a major uptick in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, and it seems like all of us know somebody who’s been sick lately—if we’re not sick ourselves.
For municipalities trying to maintain business as usual, any outbreak of COVID cases among employees can be potentially devastating. Not only does it disrupt day-to-day operations and make it harder to provide public services, but the cost of lost work hours and the toll on HR administrators can be immense. From issues with paid sick leave to questions about testing and quarantine, a surge in COVID cases can be a never-ending burden for city officials.
PubSEG’s team of contact tracers and disease case investigators helps relieve that burden.
“People are getting scared right now because of last winter,” says PubSEG Senior VP of Operations Dawn Stolte. “They’re starting to see some of the same patterns emerge. Then when you factor in things like fatigue over the vaccines and confusion over the latest boosters, a lot of employees are not as protected as they could be, which is leading to increased caseloads.”
PubSEG is used to dealing with challenges such as drops in booster rates and the seemingly never-ending emergence of new subvariants like this year’s BQ and XBB. Since the start of the pandemic, we have constantly sought out new ways to limit the impact of the virus for our clients and the communities they serve.
While a significant portion of our clients remains colleges, universities, and K-12 schools, we have also increased our focus on serving municipalities heading into 2023.
We’ve launched new programs with a pair of cities just this month, including a fairly large city in California. Overall, PubSEG is handling COVID-19 contact tracing and disease case investigation for more than 65 schools and municipalities nationwide.
As the challenges of combatting the virus have evolved, so have we. Our recently implemented PubSEG Portal, which was developed based on two years of COVID-19 contact tracing experience, allows us to manage our clients’ disease case investigation needs quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
“We like to say we’re experts in contact tracing and keeping people safe,” Dawn says. “We’ve learned so much—including how to create our own software to support the cities we serve. Our software makes the process for helping cities a lot easier. All the information is stored right there, from everything that’s needed to run reports for workman’s comp to handling the strict Cal/OSHA requirements for our clients in California, to whatever else might be needed. One of the many great things about the portal is that it’s completely customizable.”
As with our college and university clients, every municipality we partner with has different policies and requirements. The flexibility and skillset of our staff allows us to provide a wide range of services, whether we’re learning your existing protocols or setting up processes of our own on your behalf.
During our thorough onboarding process, we learn everything we possibly can about our clients’ policies, so we’re fully prepared to handle complex administrative tasks such as reporting or knowing how much leave employees are entitled to, based on factors such as their job status, union representation, etc.
Sometimes, determining exactly where an exposure took place is crucial to our disease case investigation work, because some cities only provide testing for employees who were exposed to COVID while on the job. One of our clients provided us with maps of all city buildings to help us pinpoint exactly where exposures occurred.
“Each city we work with has different policies,” says Caitlin Tucker-Melvin, PubSEG’s Assistant Manager of Operations. “It’s crucial that we learn everything we can so that we’re on the same page as their HR people.”
If you’re stressed about the recent surge in COVID cases and are looking for ways to protect your employees while avoiding costly disruptions to your daily operations, give us a call at 856-240-8117 or email email@example.com. We’re always excited to learn about ways we can help.