Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on the control and prevention of the COVID-19 virus. The guidance makes significant changes in CDC recommendations for responding to persons exposed to COVID-19, as well as focusing on preventative measures to limit exposure. Employers should update their pandemic employee exposure control plans to take into account these changes.
Most importantly, the CDC is no longer recommending that persons exposed to the virus, regardless of their immunization status, quarantine for a five-day period. Instead, those individuals should wear masks for ten days when around other persons and test for COVID-19 five days after the exposure event. For employers, this guidance means that asymptomatic persons exposed to the virus no longer need to be excluded from the workplace.
The CDC stresses vaccinations and boosters as the primary way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, as well as the risk of hospitalization, death, or long COVID symptoms. With fall weather approaching, new Omicron variants can be expected to surge in various parts of the U.S. New Omicron-specific boosters may assist in the reduction of COVID-19 risks in the workplace and beyond.