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  • CDC Issues Recommendations on Workers Who May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

    The latest guidance says that critical workers, including health care providers, who may have been exposed to COVID-19 may continue to work under very controlled circumstances that include mask use (but must leave if they begin experiencing symptoms).

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, discussions are expanding beyond how to avoid exposure to the virus and toward what should happen after potential exposure occurs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that for "critical infrastructure workers" including health care providers, that response should include consistent employer efforts to pre-screen, monitor, disinfect, and support the use of masks and other PPE.

    In a recently released interim guidance document, CDC says that while critical infrastructure workers may be allowed to work after potential exposure to COVID-19—provided they don't develop symptoms — it's important for the workers and their providers to take certain precautions. According to CDC, "potential exposure" is defined as "being a household contact or having a close contact within six feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19," with a timeframe of 48 hours before the infected individual became symptomatic.

    The CDC recommendations call for:

    Pre-screening. "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."

    Use of masks. "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 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace."

    Disinfection and cleaning. "Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely."

    CDC also advises that employees who begin feeling sick during the day should be sent home immediately and their workspaces thoroughly cleaned. Employers should also collect information on the employee's activities for two days before the symptoms emerged, and consider others in a facility who were within six feet of the infected employee during that time to be exposed.

    Bill Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAPTA, APTA's executive vice president of professional affairs, says that the CDC recommendations make it clear that providers and their employers shouldn't take chances — or cut corners — when it comes to responding to the COVID-19 emergency.

    "These guidelines need to be taken seriously," Boissonnault said. "It's everyone's responsibility to take whatever precautions possible to limit the spread of the virus — including wearing PPE and making PPE available to workers."

    he recommendations echo recent CMS guidelines for outpatient facilities that acknowledge the role employer discretion plays in minimizing risk of infection while providing necessary care — but strongly support the use of masks and other PPE when potential exposure has occurred. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises employers that they are "obligated to provide their workers with PPE needed to keep them safe while performing their jobs," leaving employers to decide the types of PPE to be issued "based on the risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV2 virus while performing job tasks that may lead to exposure."

    The advisories from CDC and CMS are also consistent with guidance APTA provides on management of patients to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

    Comments

    • How about we get a two weeks notice to buy everything we need then shut the whole country down for 2 weeks. Because me and several other people are nervous about this

      Posted by manuel on 4/13/2020 11:14 AM

    • How about factory workers that work in loud areas and can’t communicate with out being close enough to be heard. Should they not be required to wear a face mask

      Posted by Steve P Eisinger on 4/16/2020 8:19 PM

    • I work at an outpatient clinic in Novi,MI. We are still scanning non essential CT’s on patients. We are still scanning routine CT’s. Because of this I was exposed by several positive Covid patients. They are now scanning positive Covid patients in our CT Trailer with NO HEPA filtration system, No sink to wash our hands. Also scanned a Lumbar spine patient with back pain..... he was positive with Covid. Why are we the only CT open in the whole state? Even the hospitals are shit down to non essential routine exams. I feel they are not working under the requirement safety standards. They scanned 3 positive Covid patients yesterday. After the Covid patient left they didn’t have a decontamination team come clean between patients. This is a hot box of germs with no HEPA filtration and exposing myself and my co worker. What do I do? When I was off getting tested for Covid they posted my job on Indeed. So I felt like I had to go back because they were filling my position. Please help. Sincerely, Brenna Payne

      Posted by Brenna Payne on 4/29/2020 7:53 PM

    • I lost my father to cover 19 and my mom and sister are now infected. I got quarantine from work because of this and recently got tested and got negative results. My employer made me do test and ask for me to stay home. After I did what they ask I haven't gotten a response as to when I can go back to work... can I get fired or let go from work because of this??

      Posted by Gabriel Zamora on 5/3/2020 12:49 AM

    • I was sent home by my employer because of having a temperature And potentially a covid carrier. And told me that first-3days would be deducted from PTO. After 3days would be deducted from sick leave. But my result is negative. Should I still be deducted from PTO because of my absence (actually they put me out of sched for 7days )

      Posted by Pilar on 5/15/2020 1:07 AM

    • My coworker was positive for covid-19 he is in the hospital with severe covid-19 issues we have been told to get tested it's been a week my test results has not came back can I still be covered buy work ptos for any other benefits?

      Posted by MARGARITA MERCADO on 5/24/2020 2:21 PM

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