To say the whole coronavirus pandemic situation is a fluid situation is an understatement. In most cases, government officials are inventing and creating policy on the fly. Of course, those policies are backed with solid scientific input and research but exactly the best way to implement those suggestions are often changing as the needs and demands of those affected by the virus are changing.

On Wednesday the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered new guidelines for essential workers. These new guidelines replace the previous ones that the department had issued earlier.

The loosening of restrictions on those who work in the field of healthcare, policing, and food supply could allow hundreds if not thousands of people to return to work even if they have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

KATC Television did a very nice job of encapsulating the changes now recommended by the CDC. Here is the new guidance as reported by KATC:

  • 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 temperature 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 the 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 workspaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.

By the way, there has been some confusion over a couple of terms that are often used during press conferences about the coronavirus. One of those terms is "exposure". Dr. Deborah Birx explained how the CDC defines "exposure".

.... exposure occurs within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, so really understanding where you shouldn’t be within 6 feet of people right now.

Obviously in a work situation where people are moving in and around others for long periods of time would certainly constitute exposure. That's why healthcare professionals are now advocating the steps and suggestions listed above.