CDC Issues New Interim Guidance on Asymptomatic Employees

NFSA is happy to share the following information from the CDC, which we believe will be very helpful to many of our members. We have heard examples of the need for this from many of you during Chapter meetings held virtually this past week. Please check out the new interim guidance issued by the CDC which could affect NFSA companies which have employees working as “critical infrastructure workers” under the CISA Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.

Application. The new interim guidance applies only to “critical infrastructure workers” under the CISA memo who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and remain asymptomatic. Employers should also continue to implement the recommendations in the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 for guidance on other COVID-19 issues.

Exposure. For the sake of this guidance, “exposure” means household or close contact (i.e. whether at work or any other location) within 6 feet of an individual who has been confirmed to have or is suspected of having COVID-19. This definition should extend to contact up to 48 hours before the potentially infected individual started showing symptoms.

Guidance. For employers confronted only with these specific circumstances, the CDC advises that such employees may be allowed to continue working only as long as they remain asymptomatic and only if the employer implements the following five precautionary steps:

  1. Pre-Screen: 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.
  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 facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
  4. Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
  5. Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.

Again, this guidance pertains only to employees working as “critical infrastructure workers” potentially exposed to COVID-19 and not presenting symptoms of the virus. Read more on the CDC’s interim guidance here.