Yesterday, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new interim guidelines for essential workers to ensure continuity of essential functions such as manufacturing. The
is designed to educate employers on when workers can return to work after having been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
The CDC advises that
“critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to return to work following potential exposure to COVID-19 provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.”
A potential exposure means a household contact or having close contact within six feet of an individual that has confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for “contact” means the period of time 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.
Critical workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices:
- Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
- Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
- Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
- Social Distance: The employee should maintain six feet of separation and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
- Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.
As a reminder, CDC guidelines suggest that if an employee becomes sick during the day, the employee should be sent home immediately. Additional CDC guidance for employers may be