Masks, Vaccinations and COVID Safety Update
Happy New Year!
With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant and City of Portland Mask Mandate I think an update is in order.
The City of Portland this week passed a mask mandate for indoor public spaces. Since we operate in private homes and offices, we are not required to comply.
However, we have made some updates to our masking policy in response to the recent spike in cases:
- Any employee who has had a close exposure to COVID, must mask for 10 days, per CDC guidance. We ask that our customers follow this guidance as well.
- If a customer is wearing a mask, the employee must do so as well.
- If a customer requests that you wear a mask, we’ll be ready, with a mask in easy reach at all times.
We have chosen to not require masks because we are not public-facing, and are 95% vaccinated as a company. However, if you prefer we wear a mask while in your home, we are ready and happy to oblige! Additionally, many employees are wearing masks voluntarily.
I’m proud to report that 95% of our staff have been fully vaccinated. Many more have been boosted, and we continue to offer a $200 incentive for employees to get boosted, in addition to $250 for the vaccine.
We have had two cases of COVID among our staff. Both cases where in vaccinated individuals, and both had mild symptoms. In each case, we’ve notified customers within minutes of getting test results, and followed CDC guidance closely for quarantine and testing. Also in both cases, these individuals had been masked for much of their time in homes, further reducing risk.
With the changes we made to our operations in 2020, we are much more socially distant as a company, so when a case does happen, the exposure risk is minimal. We will continue to monitor CDC guidance closely and report any cases among staff to affected customers.
We’ve seen minimal disruptions to service due to COVID cases. I credit this to our high vaccination rate and our team being committed to safety outside of work as well.
However, there have been a few instances when we’ve had to ask customers to skip a visit because COVID exposure has caused us to be critically short-staffed that day. Often what’s happening is that a staff member loses day care because of a COVID exposure at their day care provider. This is frustrating for the staff member and for us!
We continue to use Employee Aid Fund money to pay staff who miss work due to a COVID-related issue. All staff are eligible for PTO, but we’d rather they not have to use it for COVID-related absences if we can avoid it.
Help us Stay Safe
We ask that if you have had close exposure or a confirmed case in your home, please let us know. We also ask that if you’ve had close exposure to COVID in the past 10 days, that you mask up while we are in your home. I know it’s an inconvenience, but it goes a long way in keeping our staff safe.
Thank you for your help in keeping us all relatively safe and healthy throughout the pandemic!