COVID-19 FACTS
Your COVID-19 Testing answers and updates

YOUR TESTING EXPERTS: WSS is committed to providing the knowledge your team needs to create a safer workplace.

COVID-19 updates

We know business owners are faced with unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 and the CARES Act. We're here to support you with services that implement the latest guidelines, testing, and recommendations.

Bookmark these pages—the CDC updates them regularly.

All research indicates that if you follow recommended safety guidelines, you can keep employees safe without compromising productivity.
Federal COVID-19 Guidelines & Mandates

Updated: October 15, 2021

On November 8, 2021 the US will lift all travel restrictions for Fully Vaccinated foreign travelers.

Recommendations:

  • get  the COVID-19 & flu vaccines
  • wear a mask 
    • unvaccinated and vaccinated, with weakened immune systems- wear a mask when you are in indoor public spaces
    • vaccinated-wear a mask indoors in public areas of substantial and high transmission
  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
  • If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing. This includes avoiding crowds and minimizing physical
    contact.

Mandates:

  • September 9, 2021-
    -Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination for all Federal Employees

    -Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations for all contractors that do business with the federal government

    -All Employers with 100 or more employees must require that all employees be vaccinated or receive a weekly COVID-19 test
    • Companies required to provide paid time off for employees to recieve the vaccine and recover from any symptoms

    -Mandatory vaccinations in Head Start Programs and schools run by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Education
    -Mandatory vaccinations in all healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, including hospitals and home health agencies

    -Mandatory vaccinations for individuals applying to become US Citizens 
Texas State COVID-19 Guidelines & Mandates

Updated: October 15, 2021

Recommendations:

  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
  • If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing. This includes avoiding crowds and minimizing physical
    contact.
  • get vaccinated

 

Mandates:

  • Oct 11, 2021
    no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19
 
  • March 10
    Mandatory Mask order, rescinded 
Houston COVID-19 Guidelines & Mandates

Updated: October 15, 2021

Recommendations:

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine
    and your annual flu shot
  • Wear a mask that covers your
    nose and mouth around others
    that do not live in your home
  • Avoid crowds and
    large gatherings
  • Wash or sanitize your
    hands often
  • Clean and disinfect frequently
    touched objects at home
    and work
  • Stay 6 ft (2m) apart from
    others that do not live in
    your home
  •  

Mandates:

  • September 8, 2021-
    Mandatory bi-monthly testing for all unvaccinated city employees, including HPD, HFD, and other city departments
Are the COVID-19 Vaccines Safe?

Though the COVID-19 vaccines were developed rapidly, all steps were taken to make sure they are safe and effective.

  1. Scientists have been working to develop vaccines to fight similar viruses for many years
  2. In the US, all vaccines go through three phases of clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective.  The COVID-19 vaccines were approved for use faster because they overlapped the three phases to speed up access to the public
  3. Before any vaccine is made availiable in the US, the FDA assesses the findings of all clinical trials.
  4. The US government used substantial resources to get the vaccine manufactured and distributed as soon as the FDA authorized their use.
  5. The COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring had been the most thorough and comprehensive in US history,  allowing the CDC and FDA to continuously update information on the  safety of these vaccines.
  6. Hundreds of millions of Americans have received one of the COVID-19 vaccines, allowing the Scientific and medical community to verify the safety and efficacy of the three authorised vaccines
Can I get a Booster Shot?

Updated: October 19, 2021

Pfizer-BioNTech: 

  • Recommended -  people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings
    (at least 6 months after first series of doses)

  • Recommended -  people 50–64 years old with underlying medical conditions  
    (at least 6 months after first series of doses)

  • Recommended (conditionally) -  people 18–49 years old with underlying medical conditions - based on their individual benefits and risks.
    (at least 6 months after first series of doses)

  • Recommended (conditionally) - people 18-64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting - based on their individual benefits and risks.
    (at least 6 months after first series of doses)

 

Moderna:

No Booster Currently Authorized

 

J&J/Janssen:

No Booster Currently Authorized

Is it safe for a Pregnant Women to be vaccinated?
Updated: October 15, 2021
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
  • Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
  • There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.
 
On This Page
What should I do if I am asymptomatic?

Updated: October 14, 2021

 

  • The CDC states that after a minimum of 7 days have passed since you first tested positive, you may end isolation and quarantine, as long as you have remained  asymptomatic
  • The CDC recommends that after leaving isolation or quarantine,  asymptomatic individuals, continue social distancing and wearing a mask when around others, for at least 3 days

 

Employer Guidelines Concerning COVID-19?

Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:

  • Social distancing and protective equipment
  • Temperature checks
  • Sanitation
  • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
  • Business travel

Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms.

Employees who have symptoms or test positive, should immediately isolate  and should not return to work without a negative COVID test or being cleared by a medical advisor

Employees who are well but who have a sick household member with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC-recommended precautions.

Employers are encouraged to implement flexible, non-punitive paid sick leave and supportive policies and practices as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent and reduce transmission among employees. Some employees may be eligible to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) external iconor the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following employee COVID+ test. Source 4.22.2020

Is the FMCSA waiver still in effect?

Updated: October 15, 2021

On June 5, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted a three-month waiver from certain pre-employment testing requirements applicable to employers of drivers subject to 49 CFR part 382. For more details, visit the FMCSA web page

  • FMCSA has extended  the emergency declaration until 11:59 P.M. November 30, 2021
What are the changes to the I-9 verification?

Updated: September 1, 2021

The following changes have been extended until December 31, 2021.

"Effective April 1, 2021, DHS is also providing the following update to its Form I-9 flexibilities guidance.

The flexibility announcement issued on March 20, 2020, notes that DHS will evaluate certain COVID-19-related Form I-9 completion practices on a case-by-case basis as they relate to the physical inspection of Form I-9 documentation. Accordingly, as of April 1, 2021, the requirement that employers inspect employees’ Form I-9 identity and employment eligibility documentation in-person applies only to those employees who physically report to work at a company location on any regular, consistent, or predictable basis."

More guidance from the DOT on COVID-19?
COVID vaccine facts & myths from the CDC

Questions about the vaccine? Visit the CDC's dedicated vaccine page

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