Testing Technique for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Excessive-Density Vital Infrastructure Workplaces after a COVID-19 Case Is Recognized

Staff in essential infrastructure sectors could also be permitted to work if asymptomatic after potential publicity to a confirmed case of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19), supplied that employee an infection prevention suggestions and controls are applied. Outbreaks of sickness amongst employees in food-producing services and surrounding communities have raised distinctive questions that recognized the necessity for testing for COVID-19 to complement current steering. This doc presents totally different testing technique choices for uncovered co-workers when public well being organizations and employers decide testing is required to assist help current illness management measures. Such methods can assist in figuring out infectious people with the purpose of lowering transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the office. These methods increase and don’t change current steering.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is primarily unfold from individual to individual via respiratory droplets. Staff in high-density settings during which employees are within the office for very long time durations (e.g., for 8-12 hours per shift), and have extended shut contact (inside 6 ft for 15 minutes or extra) with coworkers could also be at elevated threat for publicity to SARS-CoV-2. A detailed contact is outlined in current Public Well being Suggestions for Group-Associated Publicity. Different distinctive elements which will improve threat for transmission amongst these employees embrace: sharing transportation equivalent to ride-share vans or shuttle autos, car-pools, and public transportation; frequent contact with fellow employees in neighborhood settings in areas the place there’s ongoing neighborhood transmission; and shared or congregate housing equivalent to dormitories. Staff embrace, however usually are not restricted to, all staff, contractors, and others who carry out work on the facility or worksite. Early expertise from COVID-19 outbreaks in quite a lot of settings means that when symptomatic employees with COVID-19 are recognized, there are sometimes asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic employees with SARS-CoV-2 current on the office. Testing is vital to establish such people, as they might not know they’re contaminated. SARS-CoV-2 transmission from asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals can lead to extra instances and probably outbreaks of COVID-19. Implementing screening for signs of COVID-19, testing, and contact tracingpdf icon could also be used to detect contaminated employees earlier and exclude them from the office, thus stopping illness transmission and subsequent outbreaks.[13]

Vital infrastructure employers have an obligation to handle the continuation of labor in a method that greatest protects the well being of their employees and most people. Acceptable office protections, equivalent to engineering and administrative controls, for these current within the office ought to stay in place. Examples of those controls may be present in current steering for Meat and Poultry Processing Staff and Employers, and for Manufacturing Staff and Employers and different essential infrastructure steeringpdf icon. Screening1 employees and others coming into the office for signs of COVID-19 and physique temperature is a essential element of stopping transmission and defending employees. Workplaces ought to assessment and comply with current steering. Staff who’re symptomatic upon arrival at work, or who develop into sick in the course of the day, ought to instantly be separated from others. They need to be despatched to their residence or a well being care facility, as acceptable, and referred for additional analysis and testing in session with the state, territorial, or native well being departments or via occupational well being suppliers.

After a COVID-19 case is recognized, testing methods of uncovered co-workers could also be thought-about to assist stop illness unfold, to establish the scope and magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 an infection, and to tell extra prevention and management efforts that is likely to be wanted.

Viral (nucleic acid or antigen) testing needs to be used to diagnose acute an infection.

Two sorts of exams can be found for COVID-19: (1) viral exams to detect present infections, and (2) antibody exams to establish earlier infections. CDC gives an overview of classes of individuals for SARS-CoV-2 testing with viral exams (i.e., nucleic acid or antigen exams). Viral testing can be utilized to tell actions essential to hold SARS-CoV-2 out of the office, detect COVID-19 instances shortly, and cease transmission. Testing practices ought to purpose for speedy turnaround instances so as to facilitate efficient motion. Viral testing detects an infection on the time the pattern is collected; very early an infection on the time of pattern assortment or publicity (e.g., office or neighborhood) after pattern assortment can lead to undetected an infection. Testing at totally different time limits, additionally known as serial testing, could also be extra prone to detect acute an infection amongst employees with repeat exposures than testing accomplished at a single time limit.

On the present time, antibody check outcomes shouldn’t be used to diagnose somebody with an energetic SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Discuss with the CDC web site for extra data concerning testing for COVID-19 and specimen assortment.

Issues to be used of a testing technique for COVID-19 an infection:

  1. A testing technique ought to solely be applied if outcomes will result in particular actions.
    • When a confirmed case of COVID-19 is recognized, interviewing and testing probably uncovered co-workers ought to happen as quickly as attainable to scale back the chance of additional office transmission.
  2. A complete strategy to lowering transmission is advisable. Constructive check outcomes point out the necessity for exclusion from work and isolation at residence.
    • When employees are dwelling in shut quarters, equivalent to individuals who share a small condo, or individuals who stay in the identical family with giant or prolonged households with ongoing threat of shut contact exposures to COVID-19, various housing could also be thought-about.
    • Choices about whether or not employees with COVID-19 needs to be directed to alternate housing websites needs to be made in coordination with native or state public well being authorities. Discontinuation of isolation for individuals with COVID-19 and work exclusions might comply with both a symptom-based technique or test-based technique in session with a healthcare supplier.
  3. A risk-based strategy to testing co-workers of an individual with confirmed COVID-19 could also be utilized. Such an strategy ought to take into accounts the chance of publicity, which is affected by the traits of the office and the outcomes of contact investigations (see Determinepdf icon). Analyzing facility and operations work information, conducting walk-throughs, and worker interviews might assist in categorizing co-workers into the three tiers of testing precedence. Prioritization needs to be accomplished shortly in order that testing of work-mates just isn’t delayed. Moreover, if ongoing screening for symptomatic employees or contact tracing identifies extra employees who check optimistic, the algorithm outlined under needs to be utilized to their contactspdf icon.
    • Tier 1 is the very best precedence for testing of uncovered co-workers. As a result of people with COVID-19 could also be infectious previous to symptom onset [2,4], contact tracing and baseline testing ought to embrace co-workers who have been uncovered to a employee with confirmed COVID-19, starting 2 days earlier than the person with COVID-19 turned symptomatic (or, for asymptomatic employees, 2 days previous to specimen assortment) till the time of isolation. Publicity consists of:
      1. Those that are recognized as shut contacts via case investigation and contact tracingpdf icon evaluating proximity and size of contact of work-mates with the person with COVID-19. If the choice is made to check all co-workers in the identical space on the identical shift, then contact tracing can simply concentrate on different potential shut contacts, for instance those that particularly point out consuming lunch collectively, coworkers who carpool, or reside in the identical residence.
      2. Co-workers who work throughout the identical shift or overlapping shifts, in the identical space, for instance on the identical line and identical room, as a number of of the employees with COVID-19 based mostly on the employer’s evaluation of threat within the office, such because the format and dimension of the room, the design and implementation of engineering controls, adherence to administrative controls2, and motion of employees inside the space.
    • Tier 2 is the subsequent highest precedence tier for testing. Tier 2 consists of employees on the identical shift, however in a unique space of the power or operation who might have had an publicity to a employee with confirmed COVID-19. Testing could also be prolonged to employees in Tier 2 based mostly on outcomes from contact tracing or based mostly on the employer’s evaluation of threat within the office. If extra COVID-19 instances are recognized, then reassessment of the tier and testing can be indicated. Some services and workplaces might concurrently implement Tier 1 and Tier 2 testing. This would come with testing all uncovered employees on the identical shift because the employee(s) with confirmed COVID-19, no matter space of the power.
    • Tier Three consists of employees not in Tiers 1 or 2. Tier Three consists of employees who shared a typical house (e.g. a bathroom, break room) and subsequently publicity to employee(s) with confirmed COVID-19 can’t be definitively dominated out. Tier Three additionally consists of employees who typically work a unique shift than the employee(s) with confirmed COVID-19 however publicity can’t be excluded based mostly on the potential for overlap in work time from back-to-back shifts. Testing could also be prolonged to employees in Tier Three based mostly on contact tracing or on the employer’s concern about general threat of COVID-19 within the office. Some services and workplaces might elect to incorporate testing of work-mates in Tier Three from the outset. For instance, excessive charges of COVID-19 transmission within the surrounding neighborhood might immediate employers to check extra broadly. Notice that if check outcomes from Tier 1 or Tier 2 testing point out an infection amongst employees in a number of areas of the power, together with some instances amongst employees who labored on a number of shifts, then testing might have to be expanded accordingly.
  4. Implementation of testing methods can complement measures to scale back transmission within the office, supplied different protections are in place to guard employee well being whereas holding the office open. If employers elect to conduct facility-wide testing, a number of asymptomatic employees with SARS-CoV-2 an infection could also be recognized. Employers ought to have a plan for assembly staffing wants whereas these individuals are out of the office per COVID-19 Vital Infrastructure Sector Response Planning. Of be aware, CDC’s essential infrastructure steering gives exceptions to present residence quarantine practices after an publicity to COVID-19. Present steering advises that employers might allow employees who’ve had an publicity to COVID-19, however who would not have signs, to proceed to work, supplied they adhere to extra security precautions, equivalent to measuring the worker’s temperature and assessing for signs of COVID-19 earlier than every work shift (“pre-screening”), asking the worker to self-monitor for signs throughout their work shift, and asking the worker to put on a fabric face overlaying whereas they’re within the office. A testing technique ought to improve current illness prevention measures by augmenting potential to detect an infection amongst asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic employees. For all these methods, ready for check outcomes previous to returning to work is most popular to maintain contaminated employees out of the office.
    • Staff in Tier 1, who’ve shut contact with or publicity to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 needs to be examined and quarantined as quickly as attainable to scale back the chance of additional office transmission. Staff ought to comply with current steering concerning self-monitoring by checking their temperature twice day by day and awaiting signs. Methods with differing ranges of threat of office transmission could also be thought-about for uncovered however asymptomatic essential infrastructure employees in Tier 1 to return to work with acceptable office protections. Methods involving serial testing (e.g., testing at baseline and Day Three vs. testing solely at baseline) usually tend to establish contaminated employees than testing at a single time limit. In choosing a method, employers ought to take into account which technique appropriately balances sustaining operations with employee security. Technique Three ought to solely be thought-about throughout essential staffing shortages.
      • Technique 1: The technique is for uncovered employees in Tier 1 to comply with current suggestions concerning exclusion from work. These employees are excluded from work and quarantined for 14 days, based mostly upon the incubation interval, even when their baseline check outcomes are damaging. This technique reliably excludes employees who’re uncovered and should develop into contaminated, limiting an infection of others within the office.
      • Technique 2: The technique is a test-based possibility for returning to work sooner than 14 days after an publicity for employees in Tier 1. This consists of baseline testing and serial testing (i.e. re-testing) each Three days till there aren’t any extra new instances detected within the Tier 1 cohort. Particular person employees in Tier 1 who stay asymptomatic and have damaging exams at baseline and Day Three can return to work and will proceed to be examined each Three days after returning to work till there aren’t any extra new instances within the employee cohort. With this technique some employees who’re contaminated and return to work might start to shed virus after Day 3. An infection in these employees may very well be missed with out serial testing leading to potential office transmission. Staff who check optimistic or develop into symptomatic throughout quarantine or after coming back from work needs to be excluded from the office, as mentioned above.
      • Technique 3: Throughout essential staffing shortages, one other technique to facilitate early return to work is to permit asymptomatic employees in Tier 1 to return to work after a baseline check is obtained. Underneath this technique, it is strongly recommended that return to work would comply with a damaging check end result, however might happen whereas outcomes have been pending, supplied different protections are in place. On this case, this employee cohort ought to proceed to be examined each Three days after returning to work till there aren’t any extra new instances. Staff who check optimistic or develop into symptomatic needs to be excluded from the office, as mentioned above.
    • Staff in Tier 2 and Tier 3: Screening for signs ought to proceed for employees in Tiers 2 and three. Baseline testing could also be thought-about for these employees based mostly on the employer’s evaluation of publicity threat within the office or a optimistic symptom display screen. They’ll proceed to work supplied they continue to be asymptomatic and, if examined, their check is damaging.
  5. Which organizations carry out the testing might range amongst jurisdictions and should embrace the general public well being division, an worker well being clinic, a healthcare supplier engaged by the employer, or native well being care services.
    • Symptom screening, testing, and call tracing have to be carried out in a method that protects confidentiality and privateness, to the extent attainable, and is per relevant legal guidelines and laws. To stop stigma and discrimination within the office, make worker well being screenings as non-public as attainable. Comply with steering from the Equal Employment Alternative Feeexterior icon concerning confidentiality of medical information from well being checks.
      Symptom screening upon entry to the office needs to be designed in order that the screening course of is carried out in as non-public a fashion as attainable, with no employee’s private data being overheard or communicated inappropriately at any time. As a result of OSHA’s Entry to Worker Publicity and Medical Data commonplace (29 CFR § 1910.1020exterior icon) requires that coated employers retain medical information all through employment plus 30 years, take into account the burdens and advantages of documenting individually identifiable outcomes of entry screenings. Healthcare suppliers which can be coated entitiesexterior icon below the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) should abide by HIPAA guidelines. Because of the “direct menaceexterior icon” posed by COVID-19 to co-workers, healthcare suppliers who check employees for COVID-19 as described on this steering ought to notify employers of examined employees’ health for responsibility, office restrictions (e.g., restrictions on potential to enter the worksite, limitation to telework, and so forth.), and the necessity for contact tracing of different employees deemed to be in shut contact, even when this may enable employers to surmise that staff might need COVID-19. Nonetheless, suppliers shouldn’t share staff’ check outcomes or diagnoses with employers with out staff’ permission, though at entry screening, employers might ask all staff who can be bodily coming into the office if they’ve COVID-19exterior icon, or signs related to COVID-19, or ask if they’ve been examined for SARS-CoV-2.
    • Suppliers ought to report and clarify check outcomes to employees and notify the state, territorial, tribal, or native well being division of instances in a well timed vogue. When employers develop into conscious of instances, the Recording and Reporting Occupational Accidents and Diseases commonplace (29 CFR half 1904exterior icon), might require sure employers to maintain a file of great work associated accidents and diseasesexterior icon together with work associated COVID-19exterior icon.
    • Contact tracing, whether or not carried out by a well being division or a healthcare supplier engaged by the employer, needs to be carried out in a method that protects the confidentiality and privateness of an worker with COVID-19, or a SARS-CoV-2 optimistic check, to the diploma attainable.
  6. Be sure that sick go away insurance policies are versatile and per public well being steering and that staff are conscious of and perceive these insurance policies. Keep versatile insurance policies that allow staff to remain residence to take care of a sick member of the family or deal with youngsters attributable to faculty and childcare closures. Extra flexibilities may embrace giving advances on future sick go away and permitting staff to donate sick go away to one another. Employers that don’t at the moment supply sick go away to some or all of their staff ought to take into account drafting non-punitive “emergency sick go away” insurance policies.


1Employers ought to consider the burdens and advantages of recording employees’ temperatures or asking them to finish written questionnaires.  Some of these written merchandise can develop into information that have to be retained all through the employees’ employment plus 30 years. See OSHA’s Entry to Worker Publicity and Medical Data commonplace (29 CFR § 1910.1020).

2Right now, differential dedication of shut contact for these utilizing cloth face coverings just isn’t advisable per CDC steeringpdf icon.


  1. Treibel, T.A., et al., COVID-19: PCR screening of asymptomatic health-care employees at London hospital. The Lancet, 2020. 395(10237): p. 1608-1610.
  2. Dora, A.V., et al., Common and Serial Laboratory Testing for SARS-CoV-2 at a Lengthy-Time period Care Expert Nursing Facility for Veterans – Los Angeles, California, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 2020. 69(21): p. 651-655.
  3. Moriarty, L.F., et al., Public Well being Responses to COVID-19 Outbreaks on Cruise Ships – Worldwide, February-March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 2020. 69(12): p. 347-352.
  4. He, X., et al., Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19. Nat Med, 2020.

Notice:  This doc is meant to supply steering on the suitable use of testing and doesn’t dictate the dedication of fee selections or insurance coverage protection of such testing, besides as could also be in any other case referenced (or prescribed) by one other entity or federal or state company.

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