WisBusiness: UW Health recommends frequent testing, masks for unvaccinated workers

WisBusiness: UW Health recommends frequent testing, masks for unvaccinated workers

“I would approach this from the public health perspective,” Jeff Pothof said during a recent virtual interview published by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. “If you have unvaccinated people, you understand that they pose a higher risk to the rest of your employees, to your customer base.”

To reduce that risk, he urges businesses to enact indoor mask policies for unvaccinated employees, since these individuals are much more likely to be infected with the virus and to spread it to others.

He also recommends that employers conduct COVID-19 testing twice a week for unvaccinated workers.

“If you do those things, I think you can pretty significantly reduce the risk that those who are unable to be vaccinated pose to both your workers and those folks that might be coming into your business,” he said.

Pothof highlighted some of the challenges standing in the way of widespread vaccinations. He argued that many who are opposed to being vaccinated are falling prey to confirmation bias, only trusting information that supports their existing belief that vaccines are dangerous.

“We’re having a hard time reaching them, because they’re still saying things that we know aren’t true,” he said. “That has been a hard group to reach just because they’re anchored on it so tightly.”

The Department of Health Services site shows 54.1 percent of the state’s population have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 50.9 percent have completed the vaccine series. On the national level, 61 percent of the U.S. population have gotten at least one dose, and 51.7 percent are fully vaccinated.

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state has risen to 1,417 for the first time since late January. The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths has also seen a recent increase, with a total of 7,558 deaths in the state.

Meanwhile, 804 people in Wisconsin are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 244 patients are in the ICU due to the virus, the Wisconsin Hospital Association dashboard shows. Both of those numbers have been on the rise since early July.

Watch the full interview: https://www.weareallinwi.com/small-business/vaccine/#video