Essential Workers Exposed to CCP Virus Can Return to Work if Asymptomatic: CDC

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
April 9, 2020Updated: April 9, 2020

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 8 issued updated guidelines for essential workers, outlining how they can return to work faster even if they might have been exposed to the CCP virus.

In order to “ensure continuity of operations of essential functions,” the CDC said that workers in critical fields can go back to work provided they are asymptomatic and follow a set of guidelines while in the workplace.


These include practising social distancing, monitoring their temperature before and during working hours, and wearing a face mask at all times for 14 days after last exposure, even if that means wearing “employees’ supplied cloth face coverings” in the event of shortages.

The CDC under former guidelines urged essential workers—such as health care workers and those working in food supply and other critical fields—to remain at home for two weeks if they had been in contact with an individual who tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

CDC Director Robert Redfield announced the new guidelines on Wednesday during a briefing at the White House.

“These are individuals that have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case so that they can, under certain circumstances, they can go back to work if they are asymptomatic,” Redfield said.

“One of the most important things we can do is keep our critical workforce working.”

The guidelines urge employers to take their employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work, and to send employees home should they become unwell during the day. It advises regularly cleaning and disinfecting all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment.

Redfield added that individuals who feel unwell should remain at home, and should avoid gathering in crowded areas at the workplace.

“We want them not to share objects that would be touching their face and we’d like them not to congregate in break rooms, lunch rooms, in crowded places,” he said.

The updated guidelines came as CCP virus deaths in the United States surpassed 14,600 on Wednesday.

U.S. officials earlier warned Americans to expect lots of virus deaths this week, although the University of Washington’s model cited by the White House on Wednesday cut its projections for the U.S. pandemic death toll by 26 percent to 60,000.

In an attempt to reduce stigma surrounding the CCP virus, the CDC said individuals—including those of Asian descent—who do not live in or have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of the CCP virus, or have not been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case, are not at greater risk of spreading the virus than other Americans.

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