It appears that COVID-19 is here to stay; in fact, variants continue to evolve, with BA.5 (part of the Omicron family) the latest that is causing waves of infection globally.
Employers must remain vigilant regarding employee health and safety related to COVID-19 exposure and infection.
It was recently reported that OHSA extended its COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP), which focuses on how hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities treat or handle COVID-19 patients. Following an “unprecedented wave of inspections in 2022,” industry observers believe that OSHA will continue to consider COVID-19 an enforcement priority.
With the latest impact of BA.5, employers are reminded of the following mitigation strategies based on CDC guidance:
- Have individuals, especially those who are immunocompromised or at risk for severe disease, wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status
- Encourage employees to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
- Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces
- Consider specific prevention strategies based on local factors
- Consider implementing screening testing or other testing strategies as needed
Following isolation and quarantine rules are still important. Regardless of vaccination status, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms, they should:
- Stay home and isolate for five days, including isolating from others in the home
- Wear a well-fitting mask around others
- Refrain from travel
- Consider wearing a mask for an additional five days upon return to the office
Those who get very sick from COVID-19 or have weakened immune systems should isolate themselves for at least ten days and consult their doctor before ending isolation.
Check out our Resource Page for more COVID-19 Information.