Here's where we share our team's internal, daily COVID-19 updates. You can read about how East Fork is navigating the pandemic and keep up with store, factory, and fulfillment closure status.
Daily Updates: Friday 2020/05/01 at 8:22PM EDT
Since mid-March, our steady and thoughtful CFO and co-founder, John Vigeland, has been sending out company-wide, daily updates on the spread of COVID-19. Our team has found these daily, streamlined updates to be helpful at keeping us informed about the important stuff. If you’re a business owner in North Carolina, please feel free to share with your teams if you find it helpful.
EF Updates from John Vigeland:
As we'll see in the key metrics below, NC is on a good path, but it's not back to "normal." And though there's a lot of hopeful news lately about fast-tracked vaccines and treatments, many experts are still hedging that optimism with warnings that we could be struggling with social distancing orders for years to come if treatment and vaccines don't come on the scene as fast as we hope. We at East Fork don't have control over the vaccine timeline. What we do have control over is how we can re-organize our operations and our mindsets to build out resiliency in the face of the uncertainty of the present moment. This will look like the work we are already doing: implementing material adjustments to our operations to make pots safely in the face of this outbreak, coming up with creative visions for what our brick and mortar retail looks like, setting sustainable guidelines for how office employees can work remotely. We will be stronger and safer if we accept and embrace the challenge that's happening around us instead of waiting for it to change. As an executive team, we are shifting our thinking from "when will things go back to normal" to "how do we thrive in this new normal?" so you can expect more guidance to this effect over the next 2 weeks. But I wanted to invite you all to participate in that mental shift--many of you already have. There's much to discuss so as always please reach out to me with thoughts.
Below I have broken out the 7 key metric NC ID'd as areas we would need to see quantifiable improvement to move towards broader state-wide re-openings. As you can see, there is good progress on some of the metrics (and talk that state orders might be loosened soon), but progress still to be made on others. We'll continue to watch these closely, and we are also going to focus on the changes we can make to our operations now to be able to work safely.
- 69 lab confirmed cases
- 4 deaths
- Out of 7 key metrics, 3 PASS their targets, 4 FAIL to reach them last week:
1. Question: Is North Carolina seeing a continued downward trajectory of COVID-Like Illnesses in its surveillance systems?
Context: This metric is designed to take advantage of pre-existing infrastructure used to track influenza. It also serves to put the current outbreak in context with years previous. This data set is limited by the fact that these numbers represent only people seeking care in the Emergency Department (ED). Other data show that fewer people than normal are seeking ED care during COVID-19.
Answer: The week ending on Apr 25 saw an uptick, but there had been a steady decline since March 21st in % of ED visits for CV-19 like illnesses
2. Question: Is North Carolina seeing a downward trajectory over 14 days, or sustained leveling in new cases?
Context: The value of this metric is pretty obvious but it's important to note that these numbers only reflect laboratory-confirmed cases and not all people who have or had COVID-19.
Answer: Not currently
3. Question: Is North Carolina seeing a 14-day downward trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests?
Context: As we ramp up testing, there will be more laboratory-confirmed cases. Looking at what percent of total tests are positive helps us understand whether laboratory-confirmed cases are increasing in comparison to the number of tests conducted.
Answer: Yes, since 4/18 the data show that the ratio of positive tests as a % of all tests conducted that day is declining.
4. Question: Is North Carolina seeing a 14-day downward trajectory in the number of people currently hospitalized?
Context: The number of people who are currently hospitalized allows us to understand where we stand in relation to our hospital capacity and is a key metric in understanding how the COVID outbreak is moving through and affecting the NC population. Note that people stay in the hospital multiple days with COVID-19, and so this reflects the number of people reported by hospitals--it's not an indicator of day of day increases in new cases etc.
Answer: No, despite decent leveling over the past 2 weeks, the last 3 days saw a jump
5. Question: Does North Carolina have the capacity to test an average of 5,000 to 7,000 people daily?
Context: Being able to test at the 5,000-7,000 per day rate will allow NC to have a better handle on who's infected, to more confidently be able to track and isolate, and from there, conduct contact tracing. It's essential to reopening. The daily numbers on this data can be skewed by the fact that while most labs report negative tests, we do not get this data from all labs. While positive cases must be reported immediately, negative tests can be reported in batches; for example, when a new lab begins reporting it will often report for more than the previous 24 hours. This often explains high days of reported testing.
Answer: The last 3 days, we have reported over 5,000 tests per day.
6. Question: Does North Carolina have sufficient capacity to conduct contact tracing?
Context: As above, in concert with testing, NC's ability to conduct thorough contact tracing will assure that we'll prevent future outbreaks.
Answer: NC currently only has 250 tracers, and aims to hire at least 250 more.
7. Question: Does North Carolina have adequate supplies to fill requests for at least 30 days?
Context: Having sufficient PPE will ensure that both our hospital system will be able to react in the face of another outbreak and equally as important, that we will be able to continue testing at scale safely
Answer: No, only three out of the 5 critical supplies are currently on hand in excess of the 30 day threshold
Because I am using NC's proposed key metrics, I'm having difficulty tracking down similar data for Georgia. I will populate this section as I assemble relevant data for GA. See hyperlink above for GA's DHS dashboard.
Buncombe County released a "self-checker" tool for folks who suspect they have COVID
During times of crisis and collective anxiety, we understand that it is absolutely essential to make decisions informed by reliable, up to date sources. The spread of misinformation puts all of us at risk. As employers, we're staying caught up on the recommendations from disease control and community health experts and giving carefully considered end of day updates to our team. John has compiled the following list of resources:
- An article about what CV-19 is teaching us about class, race and age dynamics in our society
- OSHA has a very useful prep guide for employers
- Johns Hopkins has created a dashboard to show outbreaks by geography
- The WHO's Situation Reports
- The CDC
- Our primary physician at Lantern Health
- A Harm Reduction Guide for people who use drugs
- A useful collection of data visualization
- Pisgah Legal has compiled a resources page
- OnTrack Financial Consulting is a great local resource for all sorts of personal finance questions. They're a grant-funded non-profit and many of their services are free
Resources for coping with Anxiety:
Starting Monday, March 16th, our Asheville & Atlanta stores will be closed, to help curb the spread of disease.
Tours at East Fork:
We've made the tough decision to put tours on hold for the time being, in an effort to do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in this critical moment. We appreciate your interest in visiting our factory, and we hope you will consider scheduling your tour when we all feel a little more comfortable about gathering together as a community. We'll be sure to keep you posted on when tours are bookable again. You can read more here.
Events at East Fork:
While we'd looked forward to hosting several parties at the factory this spring, all currently scheduled East Fork events will be postponed until further notice. We're going to have a lot of making up to do this summer. Get ready.