Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Coronavirus Update 3-9-2021: CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely visit fully vaccinated Grandma (but still have to keep wearing masks at work)

Yesterday, the CDC issued its long-awaited guidance on how fully vaccinated people can safely visit others.

Here's who and how the CDC says can fully vaccinated people can safely visit:
  • Other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart; and
  • Unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
"Fully vaccinated" means "two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine." 

This guidance, however, probably doesn't yet translate to the workplace. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take the following COVID-19 precautions when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19:
  • Wear a well-fitted mask.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from people you do not live with.
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.
In other words, unless everyone entering your workplace is fully vaccinated, masks, distancing, and bans on gatherings will remain the norm for a little while longer.

Here's the good news for employers from the CDC's guidance. Fully vaccinated individuals can "refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19." Thus, if someone in your workplace tests positive for COVID-19, someone who is fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine even if they were in close contact with the Covid-positive employee. This guidance should severely cut down on employee absences.

Folks, there is a light at the end of the long Covid tunnel. We just need to be smart about what we do and stay the course for a few more months. If we do what we are supposed to do, COVID-19 will hopefully be a memory by late 2021, and certainly by 2022.