A little over a week ago the CDC issued guidance for agricultural operations (Link below). In recent weeks the number of cases of Covid have been increasing significantly. Some say it is due to the increased testing others say it is spreading rapidly as the economy moves back to ‘normal’. I don’t know either way but anecdotally I have been told by ginners that have family working in hospitals that they are seeing more cases than they did at the ‘peak’ and that the cases are younger people. I’ve also been told that a lot of the positive tests are younger people with few or no symptoms. All this means is that there is a lot we don’t know but that the virus is still out there and we can’t let our guard down.
What does this all mean for gins? I’m not sure other than as we move toward ginning season, we should be prepared for this to still be here when we start in to the crop. As this virus mutates and moves through the community, no one knows whether it will go away or reduce it’s ability to make people very sick. Gins that bring in a number of workers from other places need to be especially careful. The deadly nature of this bug seems to be diminishing some but it still will kick some butts. Many folks that get even moderate symptoms seem to have lasting effects for weeks after the active infection. I’m explaining all this to say you don’t want to have this virus move through your crew at a critical time. Losing part, or worse all, of your crew in the middle of gin season could be very difficult to deal with.
The CDC has issued GUIDANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS. Please take some time to read the guidance and follow the workplace assessment and share with your employees. Come up with a plan to handle a worker that gets infected. Come up with a plan for if the virus moves through your housing or where your workers live. Encourage them to know what causes spread and how to handle it in their own community.
Now is the time to make a plan.