Caution for COVID-19

Image via Unsplash by Nelly Antoniado

5 Rules of the Pandemic

As restrictions ease up across the country it’s important to still take precautions and safety measures to stay healthy while trying to live a full life. Below are five suggestions to reduce the risk of spreading and infection.

  1. Track your area’s health status. You want to know the percentage of positive tests in your community or state. When the rate stays at 5 percent or lower for two weeks, there’s most likely enough testing taking place to control the spread of the virus.
  2. Limit close contacts. The safest interactions are with members of your household, but if you want to widen your circle, the key is consistency. Consider forming a “quarantine pod,” in which two or three households agree on safety precautions and socialize only with one another.
  3. Manage your exposure. Think of your activities like items on a budget: You’ll have to make trade-offs, balancing higher-risk events and interactions, like a dinner party or a haircut, with lower-risk ones, like grocery shopping.
  4. Keep riskier activities short. When making plans, think about how much open space there will be, the number of other people and the amount of time you’re likely to spend. Try to keep indoor events to under an hour, and always wear a mask during close conversations.
  5. Don’t let your guard down. The advice we’ve heard time and again still applies: Practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and be extra cautious if you or someone in your circle is at higher risk.1

World Health Organization: How to protect yourself

Below is a short video clip that explains how COVID-19 is spread and how to protect yourself.

How can Tria help?

Tria Health provides chronic condition management, many of our patients are at a higher risk for serious illness with COVID-19, our pharmacists have been actively educating engaged patients on risk factors and the importance of prevention techniques. For members that have not engaged with Tria Health, but are at high risk, Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and how our pharmacists can be a valuable resource. And, as always, our help desk is available to all members. We are committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/well/live/coronavirus-rules-pandemic-infection-prevention.html?campaign_id=154&emc=edit_cb_20200609&instance_id=19244&nl=coronavirus-briefing&regi_id=129219462&segment_id=30492&te=1&user_id=d5a32b1824a16f209129a13d97e6f353
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1APwq1df6Mw&feature=emb_logo

How Employers Can Support Employees as They Return to Work

Image Source: Sean Pollock

Return-to-Office Basics

As employees are returning to the office there are many adjustments needed to ensure a safe, sanitary and healthy work environment. Check out the following recommendations by the federal government to help keep your office safe and COVID-19 free:

  1. Develop and implement appropriate workplace safety policies regarding:
    • Social distancing and protective equipment
    • Temperature checks
    • Testing, isolating, and contact tracing
    • Sanitation
    • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
    • Business travel
      *Employers are encouraged to follow federal, state, and local regulations and guidance in developing these policies, informed as necessary by industry best practices.
  2. Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms.
    Employers are encouraged not to let symptomatic people physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
  3. Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following a positive COVID-19 test in the workplace.
    Employers should continue to ask infected employees to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (within six feet) for a prolonged period of time (10 minutes or more to 30 minutes or more depending upon particular circumstances, such as how close the employees worked and whether they shared tools or other items) with them during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms. Employers should send home all employees who worked closely with the infected employee to ensure the infection does not spread.1

How to Social Distance in the Office

Before employees return to the office it’s important to implement social distancing guidelines to ensure the workspace is safe and comfortable. By altering the office to adhere to social distancing guidelines you will decrease the chances of transmission to employees and customers. Below are new procedures your business can practice:

  • Implement flexible worksites (e.g., telework).
  • Implement flexible work hours (e.g., rotate or stagger shifts to limit the number of employees in the workplace at the same time).
  • Increase physical space between employees at the worksite by modifying the workspace.
  • Increase physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive-through service, physical barriers such as partitions).
  • Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
  • Implement flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance).
  • Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact.
  • Prohibit handshaking.
  • Deliver services remotely (e.g., phone, video, or web).
  • Adjust your business practices to reduce close contact with customers — for example, by providing drive-through service, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, and delivery options, where feasible.
  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier, if possible, to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier.
  • Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible, to reduce contact with customers.

*If you have more than one business location, consider giving local managers the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plans based on their local conditions.2

As always, the continuous practice of disinfecting, handwashing and sanitizing is very important to keeping the office a healthy and comfortable place for employers and employees. Getting back to the office can seem daunting but team encouragement will ensure the office and place you call home can stay virus free.  

Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and inform members that Tria’s pharmacists are a valuable and convenient resource during this current health crisis. Tria Health is committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.fisherphillips.com/post-pandemic-faqs#L1
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Chronic Conditions and COVID-19: Going Beyond Handwashing

Webinar Information

Managing chronic conditions has always been critical in regards to improving employee health and reducing healthcare costs. With the emergence of the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s more important than ever as patients with chronic conditions have a higher risk of complications with COVID-19. With a multitude of telehealth resources available, discover how pharmacists can make a significant impact on patients with chronic conditions.

Speakers:
Jessica Lea, CEO, Pharm.D., EMBA, BCPP
Jason Grace, Director of Clinical Services, Pharm.D.
Austin Morgan, Pharm.D.
Date: April 23, 2020
Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM CDT

Positivity During a Pandemic

It seems like every day we are inundated with COVID-19 information.  While important, it can be overwhelming and depressing.  For people with chronic conditions, it can be downright scary!  Managing chronic conditions is more important than ever. Tria Health’s pharmacists have been hard at work, providing care to patients with chronic conditions, helping them through these trying times. Here are some recent patient success stories.

Allergies or COVID-19? 

It can be difficult individuals to understand the differences between allergies, asthma or COVID-19 symptoms. Knowing how to distinguish the condition will help in expediting treatment. For help understanding the differences between symptoms, see this Respiratory Illness Chart.

Tria Triumph

A patient had allergies, high blood pressure, and was struggling with her asthma. She couldn’t afford her inhaler and was terrified to leave her house due to COVID-19. Tria Health assisted the patient with getting the medication cost reduced and coordinated with the patient’s doctor and pharmacy. Tria was able to get the medication sent directly to the patient, reducing her risk of exposure. Tria was there to answer all her questions and concerns and educate her on the difference between respiratory illnesses.

Social Distancing Reducing Visits

For some, going into the doctor’s office was the only way of receiving affordable medications through samples or trial packets. Due to COVID-19, some people haven’t been able to safely leave their homes or afford their medications.

Tria Triumph

A patient with heart failure could not afford one of their critical medications. He was going to the cardiologist office every 2-3 weeks to get samples. His Tria Health pharmacist was able to sign him up for a manufacturer coupon at an affordable copay. Tria Health also had the prescription sent to a pharmacy with a drive through pick up to allow for appropriate social distancing for this high-risk individual.

Getting Diagnosed with COVID-19

If you have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, it is important to take proper precautions to protect yourself and those around you. To learn the steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, click here.

Tria Triumph

A patient called the Tria Health Help Desk with questions and wanting information regarding their recent diagnosis of COVID-19. Tria helped educate the patient with quarantine recommendations, along with encouragement to keep a temperature log. If the patient started having breathing issues, they were instructed to go to the emergency room and to call ahead before going. Simply talking to a Tria Health pharmacist and having them provide a detailed overview of next steps helped put the patient at ease.

New Habits

While it’s important to continue your current treatment regimen to effectively control your conditions, now might be a great opportunity to instill some healthy habits.

Tria Triumph

During a smoking consult, a patient was struggling with anxiety and feeling completely out of control with the pandemic. She was not seeing any progress with quitting and was starting to feel down on herself. Tria’s pharmacist worked with the patient to refocus her efforts and make a list of things holding her back. During a follow up consult, the patient had cleaned out her smoking area, found new healthy habits, and started organizing her day. In addition, the patient is wearing a mask more often, which was also keeping her from smoking. Due to the support from the Tria Health pharmacist, the patient now has a happy place to enjoy the sunshine and her daughter.

Image Source: CDC

Sources:

  1. https://community.aafa.org/blog/coronavirus-2019-ncov-flu-what-people-with-asthma-need-to-know
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Virtual Teamwork

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Transitioning from an office to working from home can result in a multitude of changes for employees’ daily habits and mental health. Keeping employees healthy and supported promotes a productive and positive work environment. While you and your employees may not be in the office, you can still maintain your company’s culture virtually. Below you will find some options that can help boost productivity and work from home comfort.

Virtual Activities with Co-Workers

Resource: Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, Teams

  1. Happy Hour
  2. Trivia Night: Charades, Heads up, Random Trivia Generator
  3. Weekly updates with team
  4. Team Building2 activities
  5. Yoga: 30-60 min.

Brain-Break Activities

  1. Yoga- Short Sessions, Quick Flow
  2. Taking a walk
  3. Get fresh air
  4. Meditation- Short Sessions
  5. Check the mail
  6. Organizing day/week/month
  7. Journal or color
  8. Stretch- Short Sessions

Staying Connected

Resources: Google Docs, Slack, Teams

  1. Photo sharing- Just because break room sharing isn’t an option anymore doesn’t mean all those photos of the dog, kids, new meals or beautiful landscaping can’t be shared. Create channels for those that want to share and keep up with others new social normal.
  2. Entertainment updates- Remember going into the office excited to chat about what happened during that new show or movie? Well try it a new virtual way- create a channel on the communication app your team uses to share your thoughts or even use one of the recommended breaks to catch up!
  3. Recommendations- With all this time at home people are beginning to discover new shows, podcasts, movies, and plenty of other activities you or your family could take advantage of. Create a channel or google doc for people to add suggestions and use as a resource when they need recommendations from trusted co-workers.

While the transition from the office to home may seem simple, establishing a routine to ensure effective health management is important. For those with chronic conditions, staying healthy now is more important than ever.

Have questions related to condition management or medications? Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742. Tria Health is a no cost benefit provided through select health plans.

Sources

  1. https://www.pcmag.com/news/get-organized-20-tips-for-working-from-home
  2. https://biz30.timedoctor.com/virtual-team-building/