March 25, 2021 by Austin McDaniel Can Critical Infrastructure Workers continue to work after being exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19? Posted on March 23, 2021 With the exception of fully vaccinated individuals, workers who have to be in close contact with others, such as the production floor of a seafood processing plant or processing vessel, should not be permitted to work while under Close Contact Quarantine. Individuals who are fully vaccinated (more than two weeks have elapsed since their final vaccine shot) do not have to observe close contact quarantine after being potentially exposed. Vessel captains, site managers and other employers are strongly cautioned against allowing any other workers and crewmembers to continue to work while under quarantine after they have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case. Employers should bear in mind that Close Contact Quarantine is different and more important than Entry Travel Quarantine, when it is not known whether or not someone has been exposed. The CDC guidance which allows CI workers who have been identified as close contacts to an infectious individual to continue working was intended to allow businesses to continue providing essential services like power, water and emergency healthcare. Allowing exposed individuals to continue work carries inherent risk, and should really be done as a last resort. When determining whether or not a Critical Infrastructure Worker is allowed to work during Close Contact Quarantine the following should be considered: 1. Is the close contact specifically critical to the operations? Individuals who can stay home should stay home. 2. If a close contact does have to work, could their responsibilities be temporarily changed in a way that reduces their contact with others? Is there a way to eliminate their contact with others who are higher risk (for example, older adults)? Close contacts who have to continue working should adhere to the following practices: Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a fever or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.Close contacts who must continue working are still under quarantine outside their working hours.Negative test results may potentially be used to shorten the duration of Close Contact Quarantine. If you have any questions, please call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at 907-269-8000.