NEW CDC COVID-19 Guidelines
How Will This Affect Your Employees?
As we navigate COVID-19, we at MEND want to make you aware of the five scenarios the CDC has set forth in which testing your employees for COVID-19 might be appropriate.
In general, employers should be strategic about testing and have a plan for what to do when results are positive.
Testing is most appropriate in areas where there is a moderate to substantial community transmission of COVID-19 and at workplaces where employees are in close contact with each other or the public.
The Five Testing Scenarios
1. Testing Employees Who Show Symptoms
If, for example, an employee is found to have a fever during a daily temperature check at work, that employee should immediately be isolated from others, sent home or to a health care facility, and be tested for the coronavirus.
Any employee who might have been infected by that person should also be sent home to quarantine pending the test results.
2. Testing Employees Who Have Been Exposed to the Virus
If an employee has been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case, he or she should be quarantined immediately and tested for the virus.
Testing should be done several days after exposure because the virus might not be detected immediately, the agency advised.
The employee should remain quarantined at least until test results are received.
3. Testing All Employees Each Shift or at Regular Intervals
According to the CDC, a mass testing approach might be appropriate in areas where there is high transmission and workers are in close contact with each other.
However, “before testing a large proportion of asymptomatic workers without known or suspected exposure, employers are encouraged to have a plan in place for how they will modify operations based on test results and manage a higher risk of false-positive results in a low prevalence population.”
4. Testing Once-Infected Employees Before They Return to Work
Employers can choose to have recovered employees tested before they return to work, but tests may continue to find traces of the virus even after the person has recovered.
The CDC suggests using a time-based approach to ending quarantine, such as 14 days from exposure, over a testing requirement.
Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness, can recover at home without medical care, and can follow CDC recommendations to determine when to discontinue home isolation and return to work.
5. Testing to Evaluate Protective Measures or to Find Transmission Hot Spots at Work
This kind of surveillance program is more often a public health function, and employers should undertake it only “if the results have a reasonable likelihood of benefiting workers.”
If you have any questions regarding these CDC updates, please, contact your MEND representative. We are here for you and your business.
Stay safe and healthy!
By Angela Prescod