COVID-19 Notice for GGC Employees

Employee Guidance Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This page contains the latest Center-wide communications on COVID-19.  All previous messages are archived here.


General COVID-19 Resources

  CDC’s guidance for infection control in schools and childcare programs here

For more information about COVID-19, visit the DHEC website or the CDC website.

Telehealth resources in SC

Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Employee Rights Poster


April 26, 2021

As a significant number of GGC employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, we are relaxing face mask rules as follows…

If you are meeting with a small group (10 or fewer people) in a space that allows for appropriate social distancing, you may remove face masks IF all in attendance are fully vaccinated* against COVID-19 AND all agree to removing masks.

*Fully vaccinated means that it has been at least two weeks since the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks since the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If anyone in the meeting is uncomfortable with removing their mask, they should keep their mask on and all others must also keep their masks on – without question.

For any employees who wish to remove their masks in a small group setting, they must wear a COVID-19 Vaccinated’ badge ribbon on their employee ID badge. In Greenwood, ribbons can be picked up in Lori Bassett’s office (TC first floor) by showing your vaccination card. In satellite offices, you may pick up a ribbon by showing your vaccination card to Sharon Pryor (Charleston), Christine Hart (Columbia), or Melea Jefferson (Greenville). Ribbons will be available in satellite offices on Tuesday.

Employees are under no requirements to get the vaccine, report their vaccination status to GGC, or wear a ribbon unless they choose to do so. If any employee in your meeting does not have a ribbon or chooses to keep their mask on, all must keep their masks on.

Face masks must continue to be worn:

  • During all in-person patient care encounters
  • When moving throughout our offices/buildings
  • In any group setting where anyone remains unvaccinated and/or keeps their mask on

Bullying or coercion regarding vaccination or mask wearing will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

If you have any questions or concerns about these new guidelines, please reach out to Janet Still in HR (jstill@ggc.org) or myself (sas@ggc.org).

Thanks to you all,

Steve Skinner

  

March 31, 2021

We remain interested in knowing how many of our employees have received the vaccine.  We are interested in knowing if employees have received their 1st or  2nd vaccine dose.  This information will be used as an informational resource to help us better understand the vaccine’s effectiveness and length of immunity protection. It will also inform GGC Administration in managing decisions due to exposures within our facilities.

Providing this information is entirely voluntary.  If you do not feel comfortable sharing information on your vaccination status, there is absolutely no requirement that you do so.

If you are willing to share this information, complete the steps below:

  • Click here
  • Indicate which dose you have received & on what date
  • Provide information regarding your department, name, and e-mail

If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to GGC HR.

Also, as a reminder, Gov. McMaster has opened up vaccines to anyone in SC 16yrs of age or over.  If interested in receiving the vaccine at Self Regional Healthcare, please see the following:

At this time, vaccines are only being administered at the central Greenwood vaccine site, 104 Wells Avenue

March 5, 2021

MESSAGE FROM SELF REGIONAL:

Dear Valued Employer,

Governor McMaster recently announced that beginning Monday March 8th, South Carolina will open access to the COVID-19 vaccine to those in Phase 1B.  Self Regional Healthcare is excited to expand our operation and offer increased vaccine access.

This phase includes individuals 55 and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, educators, and those whose occupation puts them at increased risk.  The complete list of those who qualify for the vaccine in phase 1A and 1B can be found here: COVID-19 Vaccine | SCDHEC

If your business/organization qualifies for the vaccine in phase 1A or 1B, we have the following methods available for requesting a vaccination appointment:

Eligibility for the vaccine will be demonstrated by the individual attesting that they meet the criteria.  A photo ID is required at check-in.

At this time, vaccines are only being administered at the central Greenwood vaccine site, 104 Wells Avenue.  Additional details will be provided when appointments are confirmed.

January 20, 2021

For employees who are interested in receiving the COVID vaccine, but have not scheduled their first dose…

Self Regional Healthcare has developed an online vaccine appointment request form here – https://www.selfregional.org/covid-vaccine-request-form/. This will replace the telephone hotline.

Requests will be accepted for individuals who are in category 1A (healthcare workers and first responders) and those 70 years old and older. Priority will be given for individuals who reside in Self Regional’s seven county service area (Greenwood, Laurens, Saluda, Abbeville, Edgefield, McCormick or Newberry).

If you have already received your first dose and are registered in the online VAMS system, you do not need to fill out this form. You may walk in for your second dose. Second doses will not be administered until at least 17 days have passed since the first dose, but it is recommended that you wait at least 21 days between doses.

Vaccines are being administered at the Self Regional Support Services building (104 Wells Ave) between 7am-5pm M-F. They will also be open this Saturday from 9am-Noon.


January 19, 2021

While we understand that there is concern about the consistency of decisions related to COVID-19 quarantine, we want to reassure you that GGC is following CDC and DHEC guidelines and considering the safety of all when allowing employees to report to work.

A specific concern has been raised regarding contacts of a contact. Per DHEC, this is defined as an individual who lives with someone who has been in close contact with someone who either displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19.

The guidelines for a contact of a contact are below:

  • The employee may remain at work as long as they do not have symptoms.
  • They do not need to be tested unless they develop symptoms.
  • Nothing further needs to be done unless the person with whom the employee lives who was a close contact develops symptoms or tests positive.
  • If the person they live with or had close contact with develops symptoms, send the employee home until it can be determined whether the symptoms are due to COVID-19.
    • If the person they live with or had close contact with tests negative or their healthcare provider does not consider the illness to be COVID-19, the employee may return to work.
    • If the person they live with or had close contact with tests positive for COVID-19, send the employee home and follow the guidance for employees who are close contacts of a positive person.

January 19, 2021

For employees who have received their first COVID vaccine dose from Self Regional…
Appointments for the second dose are no longer being scheduled via the VAMS system. According to a source at Self Regional, you may walk-in and receive your second dose as long as you are already in the system. Please bring your vaccine card and employee ID badge with you. The second dose may be given as soon as 17 days after the first; however, it is recommended to wait 21 days between doses.

Vaccines are being administered at the Self Regional Support Services building at 104 Wells Ave. Monday-Friday from 7am-5pm. They will also be administering them this Saturday, January 23 between 8am-Noon.

COVID testing contacts
Due to planned PTO, the contacts for in-house COVID testing have been changed. To access a collection tube, please contact Barb DuPont between 8am and 5pm (call or text 864-344-8272 or email dupont@ggc.org) to determine the safest method by which your sample can be collected and submitted. If you do not get a response within one hour please contact Ben Hilton (call or text 423-534-0562 or email bhilton@ggc.org).

Temperature Screening Update
With the availability of the COVID vaccine and in-house testing, effective Wednesday, January 20, daily temperature screening is no longer required for employees reporting to work. Of course, if you feel ill or are concerned that you may have a fever, do not report to work and contact HR for further instructions. 

We will continue to require temperature/health screening for all visitors and patients coming to our offices.

Vaccine Update
For any employee who wishes to receive the COVID vaccine, but has not yet scheduled their first dose, the priority window for healthcare workers has closed. If you wish to make an appointment in Greenwood, you will need to follow Self Regional Healthcare’s process for vaccine distribution, which also includes those 70 years and older.

Self Regional is making vaccine appointments via phone on Thursday mornings between 9am-Noon (864-725-3555) for the following week. The number of available appointments will vary depending on the vaccine availability each week. Any updates or changes to this process will be posted here https://www.selfregional.org/covid-vaccine-info/.

January 12, 2021 – #2

The GGC has learned that we have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently asymptomatic and is at home for the required quarantine period. The individual was on the Greenwood campus and reports being in several areas of the Treatment Center. The individual was last on campus Monday, January 11.

This employee reported no close contact with anyone on campus. We have chemically fogged all areas in the Treatment Center where the individual reported being. We continue to offer in-house saliva testing to employees and their households. If you desire testing, please see the instructions in the December 30th message below.

As a reminder, the CDC defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the individual is isolated.

This is our twentieth known COVID positive GGC employee. With the continued presence of COVID in our state and the beginning of the fall and winter flu and cold season, it is even more important that we all continue to be diligent about wearing masks, washing our hands, disinfecting surfaces, socially distancing and staying home if you are ill.

As a reminder, if you are ill do not come to work without talking with your supervisor and HR. If you are tested for COVID due to symptoms or exposure, do not work on campus while waiting on your results. If tested because of symptoms or exposure, you should quarantine and follow directions of health care providers and HR. If you have any COVID related questions or concerns, please reach out to HR.


January 12, 2021 – #1

MESSAGE FROM JIM KELLY:

Recently there have been some health concerns expressed regarding exposure to the disinfectant fogging being conducted after a known employee has tested positive with the Coronavirus.

Given below is information related to the products:

  • Before it was decided to use the 2 disinfectant products, the safety to humans and animals was fully vetted (Safety Data Sheets and product Labels and EPA listings) and determined to be safe. This included inhalation, eye exposures, skin contact with the chemical, ingestion of the liquid would require drinking large amounts of water)
  • Copies of the Safety Data Sheets documents were obtained and reviewed
  • The products are approved to be used around food prep areas and food.
  • PPE is not necessary to be worn while fogging.
  • Facility staff are instructed to alert employees and allow them time to leave their areas, if they prefer, before fogging begins. (after fogging employees can immediately return to the areas)
  • The disinfectant kills viruses within minutes and continues to kill viruses on surfaces for up to 48 hours.

These products are being used in hospitals, schools, jails, restaurants, and many other public venues.

If you would like a copy of the SDS documents, you may contact Jim Kelly; jkelly@ggc.org

Please continue to: Wear your mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.


January 4, 2021

As the COVID vaccine becomes available, we are interested in knowing how many of our employees have received the vaccine. This information will be used an informational resource to help us better understand the vaccine’s effectiveness and length of immunity protection. It will also inform GGC Administration in managing decisions due to exposures within our facilities.

Providing this information is entirely voluntary. If you do not feel comfortable sharing information on your vaccination status, there is absolutely no requirement that you do so.

If you are willing to share this information, complete the steps below:

  • Click here
  • Indicate which dose you have received & on what date
  • Provide information regarding your department, name, and e-mail

We will be asking employees who are willing to participate to fill out the form again when they receive their 2nd dose of the vaccine. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to GGC HR.


December 31, 2020

There have been several questions about the timing of the second dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Pfizer recommends 21 days between the first and second dose. The VAMS system by the CDC is sending out appointment invitations/reminders for second doses starting at 17 days after the first dose. According to the CDC website, receiving the second dose 17 days or greater from the first dose is acceptable and does not require a third dose. In the clinical trial, the second dose was given as great as 40 days after the first.

I checked with SRH and they recommend 21 days or greater, but are administering the second dose 17 days or greater after the first dose. I would recommend trying to schedule the second dose 21-28 days from the first dose.

There are no specific days for GGC employees. You may schedule for any day and time that is available in the VAMS system. The hospital has been very accommodating and is usually able to administer the vaccine without an appointment on days that they are administering the vaccine.

I hope this is helpful,

Steve


December 30, 2020

GGC is offering COVID testing to all GGC employees and their household members. If you wish to request testing for someone who is not a household member, contact Mike Friez. Exceptions will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Please note:

  • Information, including test results, will be collected and shared with both DHEC and GGC HR
  • If you have symptoms or an exposure, contact your supervisor and HR to get clarification on what you should do for work. Begin isolation.
  • No one with symptoms or known exposures should come to any GGC facility unless instructed to do so by GGC HR, Mike Friez or Barb DuPont
  • GGC employees are responsible for obtaining & submitting samples for any household members being tested
  • Non-GGC employees should not come to any GGC facility to pick up sample tubes or drop off samples
  • For satellite office employees with symptoms or an exposure, collection will require involvement from another employee in your office.

Step 1: Getting a sample tube

  • If experiencing symptoms or had an exposure
    • Contact Mike Friez between 8am and 5pm (call or text 864-980-1987/email friez@ggc.org) to determine the safest method by which your sample can be collected and submitted.
    • If you do not get a response within one hour please contact Barb DuPont (864-344-8272/dupont@ggc.org).
  • If no symptoms and no known exposures
    • Greenwood campus – Sample collection tubes and instructions can be obtained at either the Cyto or Array Lab.
    • Satellite offices – Sample collection tubes can be collected at designated locations in each office

Step 2: Complete Test Request Form

Step 3: Submit your sample

  • Follow the instructions provided with the sample tube for collecting your saliva
  • Fill the collection tube at least 50% with saliva
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or take medications (such as inhalers or nasal sprays) for at least 30 minutes prior to providing the sample
  • Make sure your initials are on the tube and the small round sticker with the tube number is on the top
  • Note the 4-digit number on your tube. You will need this to receive your results
  • Place tube in biohazard bag and seal
  • To deliver sample via courier, label the biohazard bag ‘Covid Testing’ and return it to Greenwood
  • Samples must arrive by 11am to be included in that day’s run. Samples received after 11am will be run in the next planned run.

Step 4: Results

  • Negative test results will be delivered as requested (either via text or e-mail)
  • Positive test results will be reported via phone call
  • Please do not email or call the lab looking for results. We will get them reported as soon as possible.
  • Written reports will only be sent if needed for official purposes (travel, school attendance, etc.)

December 28, 2020

I hope that everyone had a very merry and safe Christmas. As we enter into the final week of this year, please be aware that the number of positive COVID cases continue to rise in S.C. and especially in the Upstate. Many of our hospitals are at a critical stage as far as ICU beds and staffing. We all need to continue to be diligent regarding the use of masks, socially distancing, washing our hands and staying home if ill.

We are receiving more reports of GGC employees either testing positive, having symptoms or being exposed over the Christmas holiday. We had 2 additional GGC employees report a positive test result over the holidays (we have now had 12 known GGC positive employees.) We are monitoring, testing and/or quarantining 8 additional employees based on possible exposures at work. We also have 7 additional employees potentially exposed from family members over the holidays. I suspect more reports will be coming in.

We continue to try to keep everyone safe through appropriate contact tracing, quarantining, testing, fogging, cleaning, and screening. You can do your part by wearing your mask, socially distancing, washing your hands, and staying home if ill.

If you have not been able to receive the COVID vaccine yet, I would encourage you to consider getting vaccinated. As a reminder, it is a 2 dose series and we do not expect 1 dose to fully protect you. We also do not know if the vaccine prevents someone from transmitting the virus to someone else. So, even if you receive the vaccine, you will still need to wear your mask, socially distance, and wash your hands.

Please stay safe as you celebrate the new year,

Steve

Update on Vaccine Adminitsration:

12/28/20-Per Self Regional, COVID-19 vaccines are being administered today,12/28/20, and tomorrow, 12/29/20, from 7:30am to 4:00pm at the Nesbit Education Center on Edgefield Street-SRH campus. The vaccine is available to GGC employees; please reference your email for a notice from the CDC noreply@mail.vams.cdc.govand the messages below. Next week vaccines will be offered every day at the Self Regional Support Services Building on Wells Avenue near McDonalds on South Main Street. You may not yet see these dates on the CDC schedule.

For employees outside of the Greenwood area: If you select an administration site outside of Self Regional in Greenwood and have not received an invitation from the area hospital, you should call the site before you go to verify your eligibility to receive the vaccine.

  • Self Regional was provided with email information on all GGC employees, regardless of location. This information was them uploaded into the CDC Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) network. Because this is a nationwide network, once you are in the system and enter your location’s zip code, you are directed to the closet vaccine administration site to that zip code.
  • You may be able to establish an appointment time at that local site, but upon arrival, may be turned away if you do not meet the criteria that has been established at that testing site for that area. We suggest you call that site before you schedule an appointment. The vaccine may be available to direct-patient care personnel but not to everyone.
  • If you have scheduled and then learn that you will not be eligible for the vaccine, we have been told you can change your location to Self Regional if you wish to travel to Greenwood to receive the vaccine today or tomorrow. There may also be future administration times offered at Self Regional in the coming weeks.
  • If you are having difficulty with the registration process, Dr. Logan at Self has also confirmed that you can ‘just come’ to the testing site in Greenwood during the established times. They have personnel on site to assist with the CDC registration process.

December 21, 2020

From Dawn Puderbaugh Hodges

Self Regional Hospital has extended availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to all GGC employees.

This is being administered at the Nesbit Center (corner of Edgefield St. and Academy St.) on the campus of Self Regional Tuesday, 12/22, and Wednesday, 12/23, between 7:00am and 4:30pm. (There may be other dates available, this is what was told to us today.) You will receive an email from the CDC with details about registering for the vaccine. Please watch your email for a notice from the CDC noreply@mail.vams.cdc.gov. IT has whitelisted the address so it should not go to your barracuda account, but do check.

If you work in one of the clinics, you will still be able to receive the vaccine through Self if you are willing to drive to the hospital in Greenwood.


December 18, 2020

The GGC has learned that we have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is at home on symptomatic treatment. The individual was on the Greenwood campus and reports being in only a few areas of the Treatment Center. The individual was last on campus Monday, December 14.

We have identified 1 GGC employees who may have a significant exposure to this individual. This employee has been sent home to quarantine and will undergo testing. We have chemically fogged all areas in the Treatment Center where the individual reports being. We have offered in-house saliva testing to employees that may have been exposed.

As a reminder, the CDC defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the individual is isolated.

This is our nineth known COVID positive GGC employee. With the continued presence of COVID in our state and the beginning of the fall and winter flu and cold season, it iseven more important that we all continue to be diligent about wearing masks, washing our hands, disinfecting surfaces, socially distancing and staying home if you are ill.

As a reminder, if you are ill do not come to work without talking with your supervisor and HR. If you are tested for COVID due to symptoms or exposure, do not work on campus while waiting on your results. If tested because of symptoms or exposure, you should quarantine and follow directions of health care providers and HR. If you have any COVID related questions or concerns, please reach out to HR.

As a reminder, virtual meetings are still preferred and advised, but if you do have any in-person meetings, please wear masks, socially distance and disinfect the area after the meeting.

Stay safe,

Steve Skinner


December 16, 2020

As you are likely aware, the FDA has granted emergency approval of the first COVID vaccine from Pfizer. The second vaccine from Moderna is likely to be approved later this week. GGC has assisted Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood by providing two -80 degree freezers for vaccine storage, and they received the first shipment of vaccine at Self yesterday. It is likely that GGC employees will be further down the list to receive the vaccine, but there are many questions about the development process and safety of the vaccines.

Dr. Rich Steet developed a presentation that has been shared with Self Regional employees and Greenwood Rotary, as well as this morning at GGC’s Case Review meeting.

His presentation has been recorded and can be viewed at the link below.

You may share the direct link with any family members or friends who are interested in this topic.

https://youtu.be/FuI19s6ogeU


December 10, 2020

The GGC has learned that we have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is at home on symptomatic treatment. The individual was on the Greenwood campus and reports being in almost all areas of the Treatment Center and Administration buildings. The individual was last on campus Wednesday, December 9th.

We have identified 3 GGC employees who may have a significant exposure to this individual. The 3 employees have been sent home to quarantine and will undergo testing. We have chemically fogged all areas in the 2 buildings where the individual reports being. We have offered in-house saliva testing to employees that may have been exposed.

As a reminder, the CDC defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the individual is isolated.

This is our eighth known COVID positive GGC employee. With the continued presence of COVID in our state and the beginning of the fall and winter flu and cold season, it is even more important that we all continue to be diligent about wearing masks, washing our hands, disinfecting surfaces, socially distancing and staying home if you are ill.

As a reminder, if you are ill do not come to work without talking with your supervisor and HR. If you are tested for COVID due to symptoms or exposure, do not work on campus while waiting on your results. If tested because of symptoms or exposure, you should quarantine and follow directions of health care providers and HR. If you have any COVID related questions or concerns, please reach out to HR.

As a reminder, virtual meetings are still preferred and advised, but if you do have any in-person meetings, please wear masks, socially distance and disinfect the area after the meeting.

Stay safe,

Steve Skinner

Future changes to operations will be communicated via email and will be shared on this page of the GGC employee portal. 


Previous employee messages (listed below) are archived here.

Meet the Shenal Family

Our daughter, Ryleigh, was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal deletion shortly after she was born in 2010. Since we received her diagnosis, the Greenwood Genetic Center has become part of our family. They made certain that we did not feel alone, and they continue to provide ongoing, compassionate care for our child. The impact they have had on our family and others across the globe everyday is immeasurable. We can't imagine walking this journey without...

In The News