After years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it would be streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what to do if they catch the virus.
“COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death compared to earlier in the pandemic,” the CDC said.
The new guidelines include:
- Changing guidance for people who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines to be the same as the guidance for those who are up to date on vaccines.
- Instead of quarantining if exposed to COVID-19, you should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five.
- Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others if you have COVID-19. Once your results are negative, you can end your isolation.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home (avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11, and wear a high-quality mask through day 10).
- If you had moderate or severe illness from COVID-19 or a weakened immune system, isolate through day 10. Consult your doctor before ending isolation if you had a severe illness.
- After you have ended isolation, if your symptoms worsen, restart your isolation at day 0.
- Testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures should no longer be recommended in most community settings.
But while the CDC may be recommending that precautions around COVID-19 start winding down, a new virus has emerged: Monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a disease that can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash. Human-to-human transmission occurs through direct contact with lesions or infected body fluids, or from exposure to respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact.
The CDC has yet to release recommended community guidelines for slowing the spread of Monkeypox, leaving retailers wondering how exactly they should handle known cases.
Recommendations for congregate settings (assisted living facilities, dorms, etc.) can, however, offer some basic guidance:
- Communicate with staff if there is an outbreak.
- Identify people who might have been exposed to Monkeypox through contact tracing.
- Ensure access to handwashing.
- Clean and disinfect areas where people with Monkeypox spent time, and avoid activities that could spread dried material from lesions (use of fans, dry dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming).
While these recommendations might be a good start, there are still considerations unique to retail that have yet to be addressed. Should employees wear gloves? Should dressing rooms be closed?
We would love to know how your organization is handling both the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of Monkeypox for further reporting on the topics. Shoot me an email at email@example.com.