By Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force
Thankfully, it has been quite a while since there has been a material update to discuss on the COVID-19 front. Except for those of you in the healthcare space, things continue to be pretty quiet at OSHA on that front, but as I am sure you all have seen, a week ago, on August 11th, the CDC updated some of its COVID-19 guidance in a way that probably affects many employers’ COVID-19 protocols.
The CDC’s new guidance, entitled Summary of Guidance for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Persons, Communities, and Health Care Systems, scales back prior onerous recommendations for COVID-19 prevention strategies based on an acknowledgement in the guidance document that:
“with so many tools available to use for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic.”
However, how the new guidance maps to workplaces is not a simple analysis. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, trying to apply CDC’s guidance to general industry workplaces, when it is actually written for the general public or for specific sectors (most often public health agencies and healthcare) is not always intuitive, and often leads to conflicting and impossible outcomes. Of course, that’s where OSHA is supposed to come in; i.e., to take CDC’s general guidance and explain for employers how it should apply in private industry workplaces. But OSHA has not kept up with its duty in that regard. Indeed, despite promises for more than five months that updated COVID-19 guidance was coming “soon,” OSHA has not chimed in about how it expects employers to map CDC’s general public guidance to the workplace since before the Delta variant struck. So with that vacuum, here is our best take on the CDC’s updated guidance.
What Does CDC’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance Change? Continue reading