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Returning to Work Sites

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Sooner or later, we will all be returning to our work offices and laboratories. Many of us have been working all along, either at home or our regular workplaces. We are grateful to everyone who is keeping things moving forward.

Once we return to our workplaces, the world will not be the same as it was prior to COVID-19. The curve may be flattening, but the crisis will not be over. Large numbers of people will still be infected, and many will die. I know that most you have already heard this, but it bears repeating. The opening up of the economy and workplaces does not mean that the crisis is over. It only means that we are, hopefully, better prepared to handle what is to come and lessen its impact.

Even if you are being careful, others may not as careful. Likewise, even when care is taken, it is not perfect. The foregoing doesn’t mean that we should never go out again. It means that we need to continue to pay attention to protecting ourselves and others. As people return to more normal activities, exposures will increase and we must be careful.

There are things that we can do to help ourselves and others. As we all know, washing our hands frequently, not touching our faces, and keeping our distances from others all help. At ABS, we are supplying our staff and their families with masks. These masks protect their users and those that they come into contact with. These should be worn whenever you are with others. At our site, we are asking that all staff keep their distances from one another while eating. We normally encourage getting together at lunch and other times, but as exposures to others will increase, we are asking for this short-term sacrifice.

At present, because testing is not widely available and many COVID-19 infected individuals may not experience symptoms, it is difficult to know who may be infectious. Hopefully, antibody testing will become generally available and we will be able to tell who was infected. This is an indication that they may no longer be infectious and that they may be immune to some extent, but some initial observations suggest that this may not always be the case.

It is important to remember that even if we do become infected, most of us will be asymptomatic or have minor symptoms, but there can be deadly exceptions. It is equally important to keep in mind that even if are feeling well, we can still infect others. If we are all vigilant, we will all get through this. This requires a group effort. Please do your best with taking precautions for yourself, families, and friends.

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