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12/20 CDC COVID-19 Updates

On December 2, 2020, the CDC released new guidance for quarantining after direct exposure to COVID-19 and for travel. The information below explains how these new guidelines will effect VOA staff effective immediately.

The CDC new quarantine guidance is for those who have been directly exposed to someone positive for COVID-19. Theses DO NOT apply if you are positive for COVID-19. As of today, the CDC defines a close contact as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

All staff working in a residential program will quarantine using the revised guidance if the staff person meets the criteria provided by the CDC. All non-residential program staff will continue to follow the 14 day quarantine recommendation.

CDC Guidance Criteria for quarantining less than 14 days:

  • If a community has adequate testing resources, the quarantine can end after just seven days if a person tests negative for the virus at some point in the final two days of that period. The test can be either a rapid-response antigen test or the more reliable PCR test that takes longer to process.
  • Alternatively, the quarantine can end after 10 days without a test if a person monitors any potential symptoms, such as fever, daily and has none. The exposed person is expected to continue monitoring symptoms and wearing a mask for the full 14 days despite discontinuing quarantine.

Effective immediately, due to our increased client/staff positives in the same area/homes creating a potential staff shortage we will have COVID positive staff with mild symptoms or who are asymptomatic be available to work with COVID positive residents. These employees may be asked to continue working per CDC guidelines. The link to these CDC guidelines is below.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/mitigating-staff-shortages.html

Specifically, the following applies:

  1. Allow HCP (Direct Care Staff) with confirmed COVID-19 to provide direct care only for patients with confirmed COVID-19, preferably in a cohort setting.
  2. Allow HCP (Direct Care Staff) with confirmed COVID-19 to provide direct care for patients with suspected COVID-19.

CDC officials also announced new guidance for testing before and after traveling. With the Christmas holiday season approaching it is very important you consider the risk of traveling and to continue to follow the CDC recommendation to postpone any travel. But if you are planning a trip you should get a test one to three days in advance and then be tested again three to five days after returning. If either of these tests are positive you need to follow the protocol established for testing positive. If the test is negative you can report to work and continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days.

It is only 7 days since the Thanksgiving holiday and we have already seen an uptick in positives in our organization. At our last D2 call and in our subsequent communications, our CEO, Jennifer Hancock, implored us to make safe choices outside of work and to limit contacts. Please be mindful of this guidance as you consider participating in holiday gatherings over this next month. We are asking you to avoid large group gatherings of any kind. To ignore this guidance simply puts not only you and your family at risk, but our clients and other staff.

On behalf of VOA Mid-States we sincerely appreciate everyone’s hard work to keep all of us at VOA safe and healthy. These new guidelines are to help us continue to achieve this goal and allow us to provide services to all our clients every day.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or me at terryr@voamid.org.

Have a safe and healthy day!

Terry Richards,

LMHC, CRC, Director of Operations Support

Volunteers of America Mid-States