August 2022: CDC Streamlines COVID-19 Guidance

16 Aug

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Update Applicable to:
All employers.

What happened?
On August 11, 2022, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that its streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus.

What are the details?
In support of this update, CDC is Continuing to promote the importance of being up to date with vaccination to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The protection provided by the current vaccine against symptomatic infection and transmission is less than that against severe disease and diminishes over time, especially against the currently circulating variants. For this reason, it is important to stay up to date, especially as new vaccines become available.

Updating its guidance for people not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines on what to do if exposed to someone with COVID-19.  This is consistent with the existing guidance for people who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. Recommending that instead of quarantining if you were exposed to COVID-19, you wear a high-quality mask for ten days and get tested on day 5.

  • Reiterating that you should isolate yourself from others regardless of vaccination status when you have COVID-19.
    • You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.
      • If your results are positive, follow CDC’s full isolation recommendations.
      • If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.
  • Recommending that if you test positive for COVID-19, you stay home for at least five days and isolate yourself from others in your home.  You are likely most infectious during these first five days. Wear a high-quality mask when you must be around others at home and in public.
  • If after five days you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation after day 5.
  • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.
  • You should wear a high-quality mask through day 10.
  • Recommending that if you had a moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing) or severe illness (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19 or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through day 10.
  • If you have severe illness or a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you. If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • Clarifying that after you have ended isolation, if your COVID-19 symptoms worsen, restart your isolation at day 0. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about your symptoms or when to end isolation.
  • Screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures will no longer be recommended in most community settings.
  • Emphasizing that physical distance is just one component of how to protect yourself and others.  When assessing the need to maintain physical distance, it is important to consider the risk in a particular setting, including local COVID-19 Community Levels and the important role of ventilation.

Actions to take will continue to be informed by the COVID-19 Community Levels, launched in February. CDC will continue to focus on preventing severe illness and post-COVID conditions while ensuring everyone has the information and tools to lower their risk.

For more information, please see the links below:

CDC Announcement

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the information provided above and do their best to ensure the safety of their employee’s health.

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