The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued interim guidance identifying situations in which CDC believes critical infrastructure workers can continue to work despite exposure to individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. This guidance refines earlier CDC recommendations and provides tailored advice for critical infrastructure industries. The CDC’s guidance applies to workers in the food and agriculture industries, which are among the 16 sectors designated as critical infrastructure industries. It includes recommendations for both employees and employers, which are discussed in this alert.
In the guidance, CDC advises that, to ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue to work after potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community. The guidance defines a potential exposure as a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. It also provides CDC’s perspective on how much of an individual’s pre-symptomatic period to consider when evaluating another person’s potential COVID-19 exposure. As identified by CDC, the timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.