New Wave of COVID-19 Causes Employers’ Concern
Posted on Jan 28, 2022 on Uncategorized by
January 7, 2022
COVID-19 is back in a big way and as a result we at Brody and Associates have been taking a lot of calls from clients seeking guidance on how they should handle infected employees and possible exposure in and out of the workplace. Accordingly, we thought it would be helpful to share some of the new guidance from the CDC and revisit some prior guidance we have previously learned (but maybe forgot).
Who does not need to quarantine?
If you came into “Close Contact” with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.
- You are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
- You are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
- You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).
Before we continue, let’s revisit the CDC’s definition of “Close Contact.” Close Contact occurs when someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5 minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). This is an important definition for employers to remember. Simply because “Jim” was in the office and later that day tested positive for COVID does not mean the office needs to shut down. Rather, it should do contract tracing to see who, if anyone, within the office was in Close Contact with Jim.
If you met one of the exceptions above you do not need to quarantine, instead you should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last Close Contact (the date of last Close Contact is considered day zero).
During that time, the CDC recommends you get tested at least 5 days after you last had Close Contact. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow CDC recommendations in its Isolation section.
In addition, if you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after Close Contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last Close Contact.
Who should quarantine?
Now that we know who does not need to quarantine, let’s look at who does. If you had Close Contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:
- You are ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
- You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
- You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
What to do for quarantine?
If you or one of your employees is required to quarantine the CDC provides extensive guidance on what you should do during your period of quarantine. You can learn more by clicking here.
Unfortunately, we once again find ourselves in the middle of a COVID surge. Experts across the country are more and more of the mind that COVID will be with us for a long-long time. As guidance on quarantine and isolation changes, we will work to keep you updated on how you can best protect your workforce. It is important to keep in mind that the CDC only makes suggestions on proper protocols to be followed, and it is up to individual states and municipalities and in some cases businesses to implement their own standards; provided that, they do not contradict applicable law.
The subject matter of COVID-19 posts is often very technical. It is also an evolving area of science and law and very fact specific. Our goal here is to simply alert you to some of the key issues involved. We urge you to seek competent legal counsel before applying these ideas to your specific situation. Since March 2020, we have had a team of attorneys focusing on COVID-19 related developments and they continue to stand ready to help you with any issues involving the pandemic.