OSHA recently updated their recommendations to help employers protect workers. In their guidance, they encourage employers to develop vaccine incentives and/or policies to require employees get vaccinated or be tested regularly.
Like the CDC, they encourage fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask in areas of substantial or high transmission and “regardless of level of transmission, particularly if individuals are at risk or have someone in their household who is at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.” If a vaccinated individual is exposed to someone with COVID-19 they recommend getting tested within 3-5 days and wearing a mask for 14 days or until the individual gets a negative test result.
With the rise of the Delta variant across the country the CDC now recommends that fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in public if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. This reverses their earlier guidance permitting those fully vaccinated to bypass wearing masks.
Individuals may also want to wear a mask regardless of local transmission levels if they or someone in their household have:
- a weakened immune system
- an underlying medical condition
- a higher risk of severe COVID-19 because of their age
- not yet been vaccinated
We agree with OSHA and the CDC’s new guidance especially with the rise in cases and fatalities due to the Delta variant.
Vaccine tracking and testing are the new standard to ensure safety at the workplace. Federal agencies, state governments, and large businesses have already started implementing these requirements for their employees.
Although those who are unvaccinated are at higher risk, breakthrough cases are still possible. Fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks and screen for COVID-19 symptoms and stay home and get tested if they are symptomatic. If they test positive they should follow isolation procedure and stay home for 10 days per the CDC guidelines.