KEEPING OURSELVES AND OTHERS SAFE – AN UPDATE FROM HR
Greetings to all! I hope this communication finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Last week, the CDC updated its definition of “close contacts.” The following definition now appears on their website:
A Close Contact is, “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). Because the general public has not received training on proper selection and use of respiratory PPE, such as an N95, the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE. At this time, differential determination of close contact for those using fabric face coverings is not recommended.”
This updated definition broadens the definition of a close contact, making it even more important to be vigilant while you are around others. Related to this announcement are the following reminders:
- STAY AT HOME if you are not feeling well. Even if you think you are “just fighting off a cold” or you attribute sneezing and a headache to allergies, in the time of a pandemic, it is critically important to exercise hyper-caution. Please keep your co-workers safe by staying home until you confirm you are not contagious and, if possible, working remotely.
- Wear your mask over both your nose and mouth and KEEP IT ON when you sneeze and cough. No matter how unnatural that feels, the reason you are wearing a mask is to keep your germs from release into the air around you.
- When you use a facial tissue, dispose of it immediately.
- Wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when soap is not available.
- Wipe down common surfaces before and after you use them.
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from others, indoors and outdoors.
Thank you for your review of the above information. Feel free to pass it on to family and friends.