Due to the high number of inquiries received and the continuous developments regarding the virus, TAG is offering COVID-19 Retainer Packages to businesses concerned with the impact of this outbreak.
Request a quote below or call us: 1-800-401-2239
Social distancing is “the most effective tool” for stopping or slowing the spread of an outbreak. Because COVID-19 can be spread “simply through breathing”, especially within close proximities, social distancing is highly encouraged and advised.
See “Recommendations for Industry” (below) for more information on “social distancing” and “close contact”.
Avoid shaking hands, respiratory droplets may spread from hands to eyes, nose, and mouth! (WHO)
the Food Industry
What are “Close Contact” and “Social Distancing” in this Age of COVID-19
As COVID-19 community transmission continues, some of the top questions that TAG has received has been defining: What is “close contact”? What is “social distancing”? And what do they mean in my workplace?
While there are variations in what is considered close contact, six feet (two meters) is the generally agreed-upon distance at which one is considered “close” and should maintain “social distance.” Additionally, it may take up to 14 days between contact and onset of illness. Following are some definitions from US and EU federal agencies and academic centers to frame these terms and their applications into perspective.
Social Distancing. As defined by The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), social distancing is “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”
As it relates to COVID-19, social distancing is considered “the most effective tool” for stopping or slowing the spread of an outbreak. Because COVID-19 can be spread simply through breathing in the respiration of an infected person within close proximity, social distancing is both highly encouraged and advised. Therefore, it is best to avoid settings with large numbers of people (e.g., conferences, open-work office spaces, concerts, events) and maintain a distance of six feet or greater from others whenever possible.
Current data supports the efficacy of a 2-week (14-day) quarantine for individuals that have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are not themselves symptomatic.
Close Contact. The CDC defines a “close contact” as a person who has been within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time. This may include time spent while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. “Close contact” also includes a person’s direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
Additionally, the CDC defines risk categories for exposures associated with travel or contact. These include:
Travel from Hubei Province, China
Living in the same household as, being an intimate partner of, or providing care in a nonhealthcare setting (such as a home) for a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection without using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation
Medium Risk (assumes no exposures in the high-risk category)
Travel from Iran, mainland China (outside Hubei Province), a country with widespread sustained transmission, or country with sustained community transmission
Close contact with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19; seated within 6 feet (approx. two seats in each direction) of a traveler with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection; Living in the same household as, an intimate partner of, or caring for a person in a nonhealthcare setting (such as a home) to a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection while consistently using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation
Low Risk (assumes no exposures in the high-risk category)
Travel from any other country
Being in the same indoor environment (e.g., a classroom, a hospital waiting room) as a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged time but NOT in close contact
No identifiable risk
Interactions with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection that do not meet any of the high-, medium- or low-risk conditions above, such as walking by the person or being briefly in the same room.
Europe. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) defines a “COVID-19 contact” as a person not currently presenting symptoms, who has, or may have been, in contact with a COVID-19 case. TheECDC defines these as close contacts (adapted from the WHO definition) or casual contacts; the associated risk of infection is based on that definition.
Close Contacts (high-risk) are defined as those who: live in the same household; have direct physical contact (e.g. shaking hands); have unprotected direct contact with infectious secretions (e.g., coughed on, touched used tissues, etc.); or have face-to-face contact within 2 meters (6 feet) for more than 15 minutes with a COVID-19 case. “Close contacts” are also those who are in a closed environment (e.g., classroom, meeting room, hospital waiting room, etc.) for 15 minutes or more and at a distance of less than 2 meters; who provide direct care or handle specimens from a COVID-19 case without PPE; and those who sit within two seats (in any direction) in an airplane of a COVID-19 case, are travel companions or persons providing care, or are crew members serving in the section of the aircraft where the index case was seated. (Severity of symptoms or movement of the case could cause more extensive exposure.)
Casual Contacts (low risk) are defined as those who: were in a closed environment or had face-to-face contact with a COVID-19 case for less than 15 minutes or at a distance of more than 2 meters; and those who travel with a COVID-19 case in any kind of conveyance, although longer duration increases the risk and may differ based on individual risk assessments.
While these definitions provide some direction for businesses, the last phrase of the last bullet above is critical; all cases “may differ based on individual risk assessments.”. To determine the best direction for your business, contact us for our COVID-19 Retainer Package (link) via email or call: +1.800.401.2239. TAG can help you navigate the ambiguity on a case-by-case basis and identify the best practices for and application in your workplace.
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