The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated guidance for critical infrastructure workers’ return to work following exposure to COVID-19. The interim guidance, which applies to personnel in 16 different sectors, permits continued work following potential COVID-19 exposure “provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.”

It also details practices workers and employers should follow prior to and during work shifts, including pre-screening, regular monitoring, the use of a face mask for 14 days following last exposure, social distancing, and disinfecting and cleaning work spaces and shared equipment.

CDC also clarified allowances for other swab types using new data and to align with Food and Drug Administration guidance by designating the following as acceptable alternatives to nasopharyngeal swabs:

  • oropharyngeal specimen collected by a health care professional;
  • nasal mid-turbinate swab collected by a health care professional or by onsite self-collection (using a flocked tapered swab); or
  • anterior nares (nasal swab) specimen collected by a health care professional or by onsite self-collection (using a flocked or spun polyester swab).

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