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In the News: Blue Shield of California Slowly, Carefully Considers Returning Employees to Work, Execs Tell KGO-7

'Its offices, normally filled with 7,000 employees, are eerily quiet. Yet plans are underway for return-to-work'

KGO-7 on Wednesday reported about Blue Shield of California's evolving plans to return employees to work. The nonprofit insurer has employees at 22 locations across California and its headquarters is in downtown Oakland.

Blue Shield of California has created a task force that is getting input from its thousands of employees to consider systematically what needs to be done to ensure everyone's safety. It includes whether to screen or restrict visitors and how to re-create work spaces.

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Its offices, normally filled with 7,000 employees, are eerily quiet. Yet plans are underway for return-to-work.

"It won't be a switch of the switch, not a chance," said Mary O'Hara, chief human resources officer. "It's definitely going to be a well-choreographed, go slow to go fast return-to-work strategy."

July 6 is the earliest target date, although that will depend on the work of a task force of 10 top executives and input from employees at 22 locations across the state. It meets weekly. Being a health plan, Blue Shield is focused on the health and safety of its workforce.

"The biggest risk is that we inadvertently have someone in the workplace who's not known to be infected and then infects other people," said Dr. Terry Gilliland, executive vice president.

Dr. Gilliland says Blue Shield might break up employees into smaller units, or aliquots, to limit the impact of an infectious outbreak.

Like other companies, temperature checks and testing are under consideration. So is social distancing.

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