Mason City Chamber of Commerce offers COVID-19 update for businesses

Webinar includes updates for Cerro Gordo County's COVID-19 levels, as well as the structure for paid sick leave for employees that may have tested positive or need to quarantine

Posted: Nov 18, 2020 2:33 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Against the backdrop of this recent surge in cases, several questions remain; what can employers do to protect their workers and customers? What does it mean by 'close contact'? Who should quarantine? Can I test out of quarantine? How do I keep my business operating during these uncertain times?

The Mason City Chamber of Commerce is looking at that.

During Tuesday's webinar with members of the business community, CG Public Health Director Brian Hanft shared the latest on Cerro Gordo County's COVID levels, which, as of Tuesday night, is at about 2,800 cases. He also discussed the potential doubling of COVID-19 cases within 21 days if current trends continue, and is encouraging employers to stress to their staff to get this year's flu vaccine, and also the rollout of when a COVID vaccine becomes available. 

One topic that was brought up was how to continue work for critical infrastructure workers in fields like law enforcement, hazardous material providers, 911 providers, janitorial/custodial staff, food and agriculture workers, information technology, and transportation, even if there is some exposure to the virus. Hanft is emphasizing that when putting strict precautions in place, these businesses should call Public Health for guidance.

"If that is your type of business, and you may have potential exposures, your places of business should contact us to talk about those what those controls may be."

In addition, Kristle Percy with IowaWorks discussed the current rules regarding employee leave due to COVID-19. One of the key pieces of legislation for these rules is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act, which ends at the end of December, requires certain employers to pay employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave if they are experiencing symptoms, if they tested positive, or in a 2-week mandatory quarantine. For part-time employees, it's based on the average hours of work per week, while full-time employees must be paid up to 100% (80 hours).

There may be some what confusion on how employers can navigate through this system, and Percy recommends employers to seek legal help regarding these matters.

"Reach out to your legal council, reach out to your accountants. They know the laws when it comes to employment size, and really lean on to them for that support."

As this is an ever-changing situation, Percy emphasizes the needs for employers and employees to be responsible.

"The main thing is seeking medical attention. The main thing for the employer is to verify there's some sort of medical documentation, whether they did the virtual visit with the doctor, or if they went in and physically saw an employer. For the employee, the other thing is to making sure you're taking care of yourself. Wearing your mask, do the best for social distancing, limiting yourself in your exposure, being aware of what this is doing to us in how it's changed our workplaces, our environments, our social settings."

The Iowa Economic Development Authority also released a powerpoint presentation on some frequently asked questions for employers. The presentation can be found here.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 483790

Reported Deaths: 6543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1003791583
Ramsey42945800
Dakota36091387
Anoka33200384
Washington21986254
Stearns18703200
St. Louis14746262
Scott13209107
Wright12489115
Olmsted1176188
Sherburne869772
Carver765240
Clay688887
Rice667191
Blue Earth591035
Kandiyohi578474
Crow Wing518381
Chisago496844
Otter Tail481370
Benton444890
Winona416649
Mower402731
Douglas392268
Nobles386547
Goodhue384468
Polk342262
McLeod338349
Beltrami336751
Morrison323547
Lyon312444
Itasca311646
Becker309941
Isanti305354
Carlton299848
Steele299211
Pine281916
Freeborn279823
Nicollet256041
Todd246330
Brown243537
Le Sueur233920
Mille Lacs226747
Cass219124
Waseca208617
Meeker206934
Martin188228
Wabasha18613
Roseau179617
Hubbard160640
Houston157114
Dodge15154
Renville149040
Redwood146527
Fillmore13708
Chippewa135935
Cottonwood134520
Pennington131816
Wadena130220
Faribault122716
Aitkin118733
Sibley117110
Watonwan11708
Rock115614
Kanabec107319
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93310
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77615
Stevens7398
Lake73518
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66910
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5052
Grant4908
Norman4768
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3025
Lake of the Woods2161
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 361499

Reported Deaths: 5412
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58007549
Linn20606312
Scott18279207
Black Hawk16223290
Woodbury14924211
Johnson1380473
Dubuque13522194
Dallas1132690
Pottawattamie10762143
Story1018945
Warren553474
Clinton542484
Cerro Gordo532781
Webster517687
Marshall495572
Sioux493469
Buena Vista472736
Des Moines457061
Muscatine450691
Wapello4314108
Jasper416266
Plymouth394277
Lee374752
Marion358469
Jones294354
Henry293037
Carroll285348
Bremer279154
Crawford273435
Boone259130
Washington253747
Benton252054
Mahaska223846
Jackson221138
Dickinson217238
Tama212965
Kossuth208154
Clay193125
Hamilton191942
Delaware188639
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan184629
Fayette184335
Page182619
Hardin180839
Wright179531
Harrison179469
Cedar177023
Clayton168053
Butler165831
Mills162820
Floyd162740
Madison154018
Poweshiek153630
Cherokee153535
Hancock146729
Lyon145941
Allamakee144946
Iowa144223
Grundy138830
Appanoose138647
Jefferson138232
Winnebago137730
Calhoun133311
Cass133351
Mitchell130640
Louisa128341
Union126331
Chickasaw124813
Sac124218
Emmet120940
Shelby120433
Franklin118419
Humboldt117225
Guthrie116228
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard102821
Clarke100320
Unassigned9850
Keokuk97829
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida90832
Pocahontas85219
Davis82523
Monona81527
Greene76910
Lucas73221
Osceola70314
Worth6947
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5749
Van Buren56018
Ringgold51820
Wayne48721
Audubon4869
Adams3264
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