As employers continue to navigate the COVID-19 situation within their workforce, the CDC is providing guidance and best practices to keep businesses running and employees safe. Previous guidance required workers to self-isolate at home for 14 days after exposure to someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or a confirmed positive COVID-19 test. This timeframe includes the 48 hours before an individual, who has been confirmed positive for COIVD-19, became symptomatic.
Recently, the CDC provided new guidance that will help employees who may have been exposed but are not experiencing symptoms get back to work. The new guidance from the CDC states that exposed employees who are symptom-free can continue to work as long as:
They wear a facemask. The employee should wear a face mask at all times in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings.
They are checked regularly for symptoms. Employers should take the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to the employee starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the workplace by a supervisor. If the employee doesn’t have an elevated temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor and report any changes to their supervisor immediately.
They practice social distancing in the workplace. The employee should stay six feet away from all other employees as much as their work duties allow.
Employers disinfect shared spaces regularly. Frequently touched places such as doorknobs, light switches, bathrooms, break rooms, and other shared spaces like conference rooms should be disinfected regularly while wearing disposable gloves. Individual employee workspaces including desks, chair, keyboards and phone should also be disinfected or cleaning materials should be provided to employees.
Even if there is no known exposure to COVID-19, if an employee begins showing symptoms, they should be sent home immediately. All surfaces that the employee may have been in contact with should be disinfected while wearing disposable gloves.
The CDC continues to provide updated recommendations for employers.