COVID-19 Resources

Due to the continuous developments regarding the virus, TAG is offering COVID-19 Retainer Packages to businesses concerned with the impact of this outbreak.

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Key Points

November 20, 2020

 
Recommendations for Industry

Potential Strategies for Testing and Exiting Quarantine as Increasing COVID-19 Close-Contacts Continue to Impact the Critical Workforce

The US is quickly approaching 1 million new COVID-19 cases weekly.  With this staggering level of community transmission occurring, the number of people who are considered “close-contacts” and should therefore quarantine for 14 days is skyrocketing.  However, the number of people in quarantine is also significantly impacting the workforce in critical sectors such as health care and manufacturing. This impact also contributes to hospital bed shortages and supply chain disruptions.

Since April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has provided guidance allowing, “Workers in critical infrastructure sectors […] to work if asymptomatic after potential exposure to a confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), provided that worker infection prevention recommendations and controls are implemented.”

 

Although the CDC provided this guidance, some states and local health departments require all close-contacts to quarantine for 14-days after exposure to a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 case.  In these instances, companies have found they must follow state and local requirements.  In areas where companies are allowed to follow the CDC guidance, TAG has recommended taking a tiered approach to assessing an employee’s risk before allowing them to work as a close-contact, including:

  1. If an employee lives with, carpools with, or has sustained close-contact with a tested-positive COVID-19 individual, the employee should stay home and quarantine.  In these instances, it is highly probable that the close-contact will develop a symptomatic or asymptomatic infection.

  2. Employees with less-sustained close-contact with a positive case (short duration exposures in excess of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period) could be allowed to continue working, per the CDC guidance.

The CDC has also provided testing guidance for High-Density Critical Infrastructure Workplaces after a COVID-19 case has been identified.  This guidance offers a tiered approach to testing that allows asymptomatic close-contacts to continue to work after baseline testing and with some testing every three days thereafter until no cases are identified in the workforce cohort.  Again, TAG recommends considering the nature of an employee’s close-contact exposure before allowing them to return early.

Currently, the CDC has not provided guidance on “testing out of quarantine.”  This approach presents an opportunity to have close-contacts quarantine through the period where the probability of asymptomatically transmitting the infection to others is greatest while not needing to quarantine for a full two-week period.  A recent pre-print, titled “Optimal COVID-19 quarantine and testing strategies,” used data and modeled the optimal timing of testing during quarantine to reduce the probability of post-quarantine transmission.  This study found that “testing on exit was most effective for quarantines lasting up to six days” and results in less than a 1% probability of post-quarantine transmission and is comparable to a 14-day quarantine with no testing on exit. 

As case-rates increase and more individuals in the workforce become close-contacts, a data-driven strategy of “testing out of quarantine” may become more necessary.  Please reach out to TAG if you have questions about developing testing and quarantine strategies for your unique situation. 

Outbreak Updates
 

As of November 20, 2020 (12:13 ET), there are over >57,164,000 cases (>1,364,020 deaths) worldwide.

Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.

Keep up to date with COVID-19:

Please send us any questions, comments, and/or concerns! We are happy to talk with you. 

 

OR call us at 1-800-401-2239

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