COVID-19 AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Here's How You Can Protect Your Business
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Cheat Sheet for Employee COVID-19 Exposure

Keep in mind that these guidelines are constantly changing, and you may have additional state and local guidelines, so please contact us before taking action.

There are 3 situations in which the CDC recommends that employees quarantine:

  1. Employee tests positive
  2. Employee exhibits or reports the symptoms (but has not tested positive)
  3. Employee has been “exposed” to someone who was COVID-19 positive or symptomatic at the time of the employee’s exposure

1. Employee tests positive

The CDC recommends:

A. Employee self-isolate until the following criteria are met (2 different categories of COVID-positive employees):

    1. Employee with symptoms (plus a positive test) must self-isolate until the following three criteria are all met: (1) 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared; (2) employee has gone 24 hours with no fever without using fever-reducing medications; and (3) employee’s other COVID-19 symptoms are improving.
    2. Employee without symptoms must simply self-isolate for 10 days.

B. Employer should clean the area, tools, equipment, etc., that the employee used.

C. Employer should determine whether any other employees were exposed to the sick employees (exposure = within 6 feet for 15+ minutes); if so, employer should notify those other employees of their potential exposure (without identifying the sick employee) and follow the protocols set forth for #3 below (exposed employees).

2. Employee has COVID-19 symptoms (but no positive test)

The CDC recommends:

A. Employee self-isolate must self-isolate until the following three criteria are all met: (1) 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared; (2) employee has gone 24 hours with no fever without using fever-reducing medications; and (3) employee’s other COVID-19 symptoms are improving.

B. Employer should clean the area, tools, equipment, etc., that the employee used.

C. Employer should determine whether any other employees were exposed to the sick employees (exposure = within 6 feet for 15+ minutes); if so, employer should notify those other employees of their potential exposure (without identifying the sick employee) and follow the protocols set forth for #3 below (exposed employees).

3. Employee has been exposed to COVID-19

CDC now defines exposure as:
• being within 6 feet of infected/symptomatic person for 15+ minutes;
• having direct physical contact with the infected/symptomatic person;
• sharing eating/drinking utensils with the infected/symptomatic person;
• the infected/symptomatic person sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on the employee; or
• caring for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19.

The CDC recommends:

A. Exposed employee should self-isolate for 14 days after their last exposure. (CDC specifically recommends 14-day quarantine even if the employee tests negative for COVID-19 and/or has no symptoms.)

    1. Exception – exposed employee previously had and recovered from COVID-19: the exposed employee does not need to self-isolate if the following is all true: the employee (1) already developed COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months, (2) has recovered, and (3) remains without COVID-19 symptoms.
    2. NOTE: If the employee lives with the infected/symptomatic person (or if new household members get sick) and the employee cannot avoid additional close contact, then the employee’s 14-day quarantine period restarts every day of the new/continued exposure.

B. Possible different standards for critical infrastructure workers who were exposed but have no symptoms.

    1. The CDC has slightly different guidance if the exposed employee in question qualifies as a critical infrastructure worker. However, even in those instances, the CDC’s recent guidance suggests the exposed employee should stay home for 14 days if possible.
    2. CDC advises that critical infrastructure employees may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain symptom-free and additional precautions are taken to protect them and the community.
    3. But the CDC emphasizes that critical infrastructure businesses have an obligation to limit, to the extent possible, the reintegration into the worksite of in-person employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 but remain symptom-free in ways that best protect the health of the employee, their co-employees, and the general public. And the CDC states that remaining at home for 14 days may still be the most preferred and viable option for exposed employees.

C. Employer should clean the area, tools, equipment, etc., that the exposed employee used.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.