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CDC Issues Guidelines on Critical Workers Who May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

April 16, 2020Legal Alerts

CDC Issues Guidelines on Critical Workers Who May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

On April 13, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued guidelines on safety practices for critical workers who may have had exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The CDC lists critical infrastructure workers as:

  1. Federal, state, and local law enforcement;
  2. 911 Call Center employees;
  3. Fusion Center employees;
  4. Hazardous material responders from the government and private sectors;
  5. Janitorial staff and other custodial staff; and
  6. Workers, including contracted vendors, in food agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy, and government facilities.

The CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue working following being “potentially exposed” to COVID-19 within the prior 48 hours, if they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

Individuals who are considered “potentially exposed” are those who have household contact or close contact (within six feet) of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. This does not mean essential workers are permitted to work after testing positive for COVID-19, only that they are allowed to continue to work if they have possibly been exposed and remain asymptomatic.

There are several procedures critical workers should be practicing prior to and during their work shift:

  1. Pre-screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to the employee entering the building or starting work;
  2. 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;
  3. 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 masks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages;
  4. Social distance: The employee should remain six feet away and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace; and
  5. Disinfect and clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment routinely.

Additionally, the CDC seeks for employers to send anyone home who may become ill during the day. Surfaces the individual may have had contact with should immediately be cleaned and disinfected. Anyone in contact with the individual in the prior 48 hours should comply with the above material.

Please find this guideline here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/critical-workers/implementing-safety-practices.html

If you have any questions about these issues, please contact your Dinsmore Labor and Employment attorney.