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Confused About Wearing Masks Indoors? Public Health Has Answers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or socially distancing, and meanwhile all counties in Washington state are in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery with a full reopening expected June 30.

But what does that all mean exactly, especially for business owners who want to keep their employees and their customers safe?

Indoor Mask Directive Guidance for Businesses

If you have questions, Public Health — Seattle & King County has answers.

Check out this Indoor Mask Directive — Guidance for Businesses, to help you decide how to implement indoor mask guidelines.

Because there is no easy way to check vaccination status at this time, King County’s Local Health Officer Directive strongly urges businesses to continue implementing mask mandates for all employees and customers in indoor settings.

For companies that choose to allow fully vaccinated employees and customers to remove their masks, the directive suggests:

  1. Verify the vaccination status of everyone.
  2. Create a system of process to monitor that unvaccinated people continue to wear a mask.
  3. People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all times.

For more details, please download the Indoor Mask Directive — Guidance for Businesses.

Gov. Jay Inslee also offers industry-specific information on the website COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers, including an overview of COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Health Requirements based on requirements from the Department of Labor and Industries.

5,500 and Counting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Through Business Health Trust Partnership

Business Health Trust is taking its core value to be a resource to employers throughout the Puget Sound region with COVID-19 vaccine clinics that so far have immunized 5,500 people and counting.

The clinics are being offered through a unique partnership between local grocery stores and business organizations, including Business Health Trust and its plan sponsor, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Each event needs about 50 to 60 volunteers to keep patients safely flowing through the pop-up vaccine clinics, and Business Health Trust members are among volunteers who have been willing to step up and help.

We first wrote about the clinics in the post Business Health Trust Partnership Provides COVID-19 Vaccine to Diverse Population, which highlighted a clinic in the White Center neighborhood where the diverse population has seen one of the highest rates of COVID-19 incidence in King County.

Since then clinics have taken place in Bellevue, Tacoma and Everett, with more likely as eligibility for the vaccine expands to all Washingtonians 16 and older as of April 15, 2021.

If you would like to be notified about future COVID-19 vaccine clinics as a patient or to volunteer, or if your company is interested in partnering, please fill out this survey.

How to Register for a COVID-19 Vaccine with Kaiser Permanente

Are you eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or about to become eligible and wondering where to start?

As of April 15, 2021, all Washingtonians age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and Business Health Trust partner Kaiser Permanente is offering tips to help both members and non-members register for the vaccine at one of their facilities.

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in Kaiser Permanente, it’s easy to sign up for your vaccine online at kp.org/wa. Once you’ve logged in, click on “COVID-19” and complete the “COVID-19 vaccination” e-visit to confirm your eligibility, then you can schedule an appointment for your first shot.

For members who do not have internet access or for non-members, you can make an appointment by calling 1-800-352-3610.

For more information, download the flyer Getting Vaccinated with Kaiser Permanente.

COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership with Business Help Trust Continues March 10-11

After vaccinating 986 qualified members of the White Center community March 4-5, a partnership between local grocery stores and business organizations is bringing its COVID-19 vaccine clinic to Bellevue March 10-11.

Business Health Trust and its plan sponsor, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, along with QFC have announced that their ongoing partnership to bring more vaccine appointments to eligible individuals will continue this week at the T-Mobile offices in Bellevue.

“This week’s clinic is a great example of our business community working together on the urgent task of vaccination,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Chamber. “QFC’s donation of professional services at vaccination sites and scheduling support along with T-Mobile hosting the clinic site will make it possible for 900 people in King County to get their first dose of the vaccine this week.”

This partnership — which you can read more about in our post Business Health Trust Partnership Provides COVID-19 Vaccine to Diverse Population — is working together to distribute a limited supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by mobilizing the business community like T-Mobile to provide space and volunteers to support the effort.

“Bringing the business community together to proactively support these efforts is key to helping us reopen safely,” said Sarai Childs, executive director for Business Health Trust. “As we continue to work to support more vaccine clinics, we are dedicated to helping bridge barriers such as language that arise. This clinic will have pharmacists and or other volunteers that speak Vietnamese, Khmer, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Tamil, Ukranian, and sign language.”

The clinic is reserved for eligible individuals, including:

  • Anyone 65 and older
  • All people 50 and older in multi-generational households where two or more generations reside (such as an elder and grandchild)
  • High-risk health care workers in health care settings
  • High-risk first-responders
  • Long-term care facility residents
  • All other workers at risk in health care settings

Read more about the partnership in the article How an Army of Volunteers Helped Vaccinate Nearly 1,000 People in Two Days from The Stranger.

Health care worker withdrawing COVID-19 vaccine.

Business Health Trust Partnership Provides COVID-19 Vaccine to Diverse Population

Business Health Trust is among partners that are focusing on bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to diverse communities.

Throughout March, a partnership between local grocery stores and business organizations — including Business Health Trust and its plan sponsor, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce — is offering the vaccine to eligible recipients at pop-up clinics in White Center and Factoria.

“The partners truly came together in an impactful way to vaccinate hundreds of eligible people in the White Center community,” Sarai Childs, Executive Director of Business Health Trust, said about the first clinic in White Center on March 4, 2021. “We are committed to doing our part to bring businesses together to help get people vaccinated in a way that brings equity and access to all.

“We are so grateful for the dedicated teams at QFC, Fred Meyer, Comcast, White Center CDA and Evergreen High School who have been working hard to make this a reality.”

Quality Food Centers (QFC) and Fred Meyer announced March 4 that they had received a limited supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and hoped to inoculate to 900 qualified patients at Evergreen High School in White Center March 4-5.

“QFC is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives, and it has never been more important as we help to vaccinate the public,” said QFC President Chris Albi. “That is why QFC, Fred Meyer and Kroger Health will be donating all professional services at vaccination sites.”

The location was chosen to serve the eligible population in the diverse White Center neighborhood, which has had one of the highest rates of COVID-19 incidence in King County and where fewer than half of residents age 65 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Working with the White Center Community Development Association (CDA), this vaccination site will offer materials and translation in five languages: Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer and English.

QFC and Fred Meyer thanked the Seattle Chamber for partnering to locate a facility and provide logistical support.

“Today’s clinic is an exciting example of how we can work together to expand vaccine access in an inclusive way and get our whole community on the road to recovery,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Chamber. “We want to provide a model for future pop-ups in the region: businesses proactively thinking about the resources they can offer, organizations rooted in our communities bringing their expertise, and conveners like the Chamber bringing people together with the urgency this moment demands.”

The White Center clinic is reserved for residents in White Center and the immediately surrounding areas who are considered eligible including:

  • Anyone 65 and older
  • All people 50 and older in multi-generational households where two or more generations reside (such as an elder and grandchild)
  • High-risk health care workers in health care settings
  • High-risk first-responders
  • Long-term care facility residents
  • All other workers at risk in health care settings

More information is available on the White Center CDA Facebook page.

Stay Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccine with 2 Partner Webinars Next Week

The COVID-19 vaccine is all over the news, but many questions remain.

Our Business Health Trust partners are ready with answers to help you navigate the next normal of COVID-19 at the following free webinars:

Kaiser Permanente: COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Mental Health Resources

Thursday, December 17, 2020
3 – 4 p.m.

Learn about the scientific realities of coronaviruses and COVID-19, control measures, the human impact, and Kaiser Permanente’s response, including:

  • COVID-19 updates and trends — Insights on the current state of the pandemic, including treatment and testing
  • Emerging vaccine developments — Relevant information regarding the development, FDA review, and distribution of recently approved COVID-19 vaccines
  • Mental health resources

Speakers are Dr. Lisa Jackson, Senior Investigator and Internist, and Jessica Sandhu, Flu Campaign Manager.

Seattle Chamber’s #WeGotThisWA Series: Update on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thursday, December 17, 2020
11 a.m. to noon

Hear the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health – Seattle & King County. Francesca Holme, Flu Coordination Technical Specialist, will share the most recent COVID-19 data for King County and provide an update on the plans for vaccine rollout in the region.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is the plan sponsor of Business Health Trust. Its ongoing #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series is designed to provide timely and accurate information and resources on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is COVID-19 Testing Covered for Business Health Trust Members?

Business Health Trust is proud to offer competitive insurance benefits to small and mid-sized businesses in Washington state. We partner with major carriers so that our members can provide competitive employee benefit programs that support healthy, productive employees.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, our medical partners at Premera Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente have continued to adapt to take care of members’ needs and help keep the community safe.

In most situations, COVID-19 testing is covered for members enrolled in medical through Business Health Trust:

Kaiser Permanente: Testing and diagnosis at Kaiser Permanente are available at no cost to members. If you decide to get tested at an outside lab, you’ll need to pay for your test, but you can file a claim form for reimbursement. Please note that Kaiser Permanente will cover the cost of testing only if it was conducted by a licensed provider.

Read more about COVID-19 testing for Business Health Trust members enrolled in Kaiser Permanente.

Premera Blue Cross: Testing is covered when a doctor orders the test. The test is covered with no out-of-pocket cost with a doctor’s order. However, keep in mind that most plans don’t cover COVID-19 testing for:

  • Return to work or school
  • Caretaker work requirements
  • Contact tracing
  • Travel requirements
  • Community management
  • Government requested

Read more about COVID-19 testing for Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross.

Safe Start Kits from Business Health Trust are in the News

As small businesses struggle to reopen amid a shortage of face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment (PPE), Business Health Trust has proved itself a trusted source for employers by coordinating the distribution of Small Business Safe Start Kits throughout King County.

More than insurance, Business Health Trust has a core value to be a resource to employers, which has taken on a new meaning since the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our small business community.

Business Health Trust has worked to keep members safe and healthy with frequent communications highlighting important updates, sourcing PPE from local vendors and much more, which you can read about in our article “What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

This month, Business Health Trust cast an even wider safety net by partnering with regional chambers, business organizations and King County to offer the Safe Start Kits, which continue to be available via shipping or contactless pickup through July 24.

If you are located in King County and in need of a Safe Start Kit – which includes cloth face masks, disposable face masks and hand sanitizer – you can place an order via the Business Health Trust site.

Read more about Business Health Trust and the Small Business Safe Start Kits in The Stranger and KOMO News, as well as the July edition of Healthy Living with Business Health Trust.

Man wearing mask trying on glasses.

Ask an Eye Doc: How Your Eye Exam May Look Different

From our wellness partners at VSP Vision Care Inc.

Business Health Trust partner VSP Vision Care Inc. is partnering with network eye doctors to help ensure a healthy return to routine eye care services. What are some of the changes you might see when you return to your eye doctor?

On this latest episode of Ask an Eye Doc, VSP network eye doctor Gabriela Olivares, OD, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, shares a few common things VSP is seeing practices implement. “Many things are different,” she tells us, “but one thing does remain the same: your eye doctor’s commitment to your safety.”

How to Prepare for Your Eye Doctor Visit
  1. Don’t go if you’re feeling sick. If you wake up with a cough or a sore throat, it’s probably best to reschedule your appointment and call your primary physician. Your routine eye exam can wait. Don’t be surprised if someone takes your temperature upon arrival to ensure safety for everyone.
  2. Fill out forms in advance. If possible, fill out your intake forms online before your appointment. This will limit your face-to-face contact and your overall time within the office. Any additional information that’s requested by your doctor can also be done over the phone
  3. Follow social distancing guidelines. There may be new procedures in place to help with social distancing, from markers on the ground indicating where to stand, to a limited number of people allowed in certain areas. You will likely need to call from your car to check in. Every office is different, so be sure to check with your doctor’s office about their requirements.
  4. Go alone to your appointment. Most offices are only allowing the patient to enter the office, with the exception of those who require a caregiver or a guardian to attend the appointment with them. This limits the amount of people going in and out of the office, and helps maintain a more sterile, clean environment.
  5. Wear a mask to your appointment. Depending on your state, a mask may either be mandated or highly recommended when you are in public places. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly advises people to wear a mask covering their nose and their mouth in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
  6. Ask before trying on frames. Lastly, if you need glasses, your frame selection experience might be somewhat different than before. Frames that patients try on will be disinfected prior to returning them to the frame board so that you feel safe and comfortable. Be sure to ask office staff prior to trying on any frames. This will ensure that the eyewear remains sanitary. In addition, don’t be surprised if there is an acrylic barrier between you and your optician. This might allow you to try on your frames mask-free. Be mindful that procedures are modified as needed and each doctor’s office might have a slightly different approach to ensuring everyone’s health and safety.

To know exactly what to expect during your appointment, call your doctor’s office to find out how to best prepare for your visit. If you need to connect with a doctor but don’t have one, VSP can help!

This article was reviewed by Gabriela Olivares, OD.  

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Screenshot of BHT PPE Site

COVID-19 Health and Safety Supplies Now Available Via New Business Health Trust Site

In its ongoing efforts to help small businesses obtain resources while the state struggles with the impacts of COVID-19, Business Health Trust has partnered with PrintNW to help the public purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 health and safety supplies.

The new website BusinessHealthTrust.GearNW.com features PPE including face masks, gloves and safety glasses, along with signage that can help companies encourage social distancing and other safety practices.

“We are dedicated to providing resources to companies across Washington,” said Sarai Childs, executive director of Business Health Trust. “In this time, we know that businesses are looking for supplies and signage to help support re-opening, which is why we are excited that PrintNW has put together an easy site for businesses to access these items.”

Business Health Trust offers health insurance and other employee benefits, and is also a source to help small business navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits.

To read more about how Business Health Trust has been reaching out to members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the article, “What Does Your Health Insurance Do for You?

To learn more or get a quote, contact info@businesshealthtrust.com or 425.201.1972.