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CDC Updates Guidance for Critical Infrastructure Employee Exposure

Released on July 29, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on return to work. This version has been revised to address an inconsistency for critical infrastructure employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 (the CDC has not updated that guidance since December). To make this section consistent with the CDC’s new guidance for vaccinated employees, that section now states that asymptomatic critical infrastructure employees can continue to work but, regardless of vaccination status, employees should be tested 3-5 days following the known exposure and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. Unvaccinated employees should continue to mask and practice other precautions (e.g. social distancing) outdoors as well for 14 days or until a negative test result is received.

This updated guidance is outlined in the chart below which addresses return to work scenarios under the current CDC guidance.

*** as of 7/29/2021

Situation

CDC Guidance on Return to Work

Critical Infrastructure

Positive test and symptoms

Symptom Based:

 

  • At least 10 days from the onset of symptoms

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications

  • Improvement in other symptoms

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Vaccination status does not matter.

Sources:

No Change

No test or negative test and symptoms

Symptom Based:

 

  • At least 10 days from the onset of symptoms

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications

  • Improvement in other symptoms

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Vaccination status does not matter.

Sources:

No Change

Positive test without symptoms

Time Based: 10 days since positive test

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Vaccination status does not matter.

Sources:

No Change

Exposed with symptoms

Symptom Based:

 

  • At least 10 days from the onset of symptoms

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications

  • Improvement in other symptoms

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Vaccination status does not matter.

Sources:

No Change

Exposed without symptoms

If in “close contact” with someone who has tested positive (defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over a 24 period starting from 2 days before illness onset or positive test), 10 days after exposure or 7 days after exposure if negative test is obtained (test can be taken within 48 hours of planned end of quarantine).

But no isolation needed if:

  • The individual has been fully vaccinated, or

  • The individual has a prior positive diagnosis within last 3 months and has no ongoing symptoms

However, fully vaccinated employees should be tested 3-5 days following the known exposure and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

Sources:

Can continue to work as long as they remain asymptomatic. However, regardless of vaccination status, employees should be tested 3-5 days following the known exposure and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. Unvaccinated employees should continue to mask and practice other precautions (e.g. social distancing) both indoors and outdoors for 14 days or until a negative test result is received.

No additional precautions or testing is needed (as long as they remain asymptomatic) if:

  • The individual has a prior positive diagnosis within last 3 months and has no ongoing symptoms

Sources:

 

 

Print:

© 2021 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 210
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About this Author

Christopher S. Mann Labor and Employment Lawyer Jones Walker Law Firm
Partner

Chris Mann is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group. He focuses on defending employers in litigation.

Chris primarily represents and advises clients in employment-related disputes, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and state law counterparts.

Chris also concentrates on defending workers' compensation and related retaliation claims, as well as on advising clients on the handling of such matters. In addition, he routinely consults and advises management and...

504-582-8332
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