General Lab Information

Protocols for COVID-19 Exposures and Cases

The following protocols took effect January 1, 2022.

On Dec. 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine periods for COVID-19 exposures and infections.

The CDC has shortened the recommended isolation time for people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic and updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. These updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is infectious.

Quarantine refers to the time during which you should avoid contact with others following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Isolation refers to the time during which you should avoid contact with others following a positive COVID-19 test. Note: When at the Lab site, you must wear a face covering and socially distance in all public and work areas within buildings, except when sitting or working alone in an area separated by floor-to-ceiling walls with the door closed or while eating and drinking. Cubicles with partial walls or partitions are considered public spaces and require face coverings. When outdoors, face coverings are required for those who cannot maintain six feet of distance from others.

The updated CDC recommendations were implemented at Brookhaven National Laboratory for new COVID-19 cases beginning Jan. 1, 2022, with the following four conditions.

1. If you test positive for COVID-19

  • You must isolate for five calendar days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five calendar days, you can end isolation but must continue to wear a face covering around others for five additional calendar days.
  • If you have a fever or other symptoms (such as cough, sneezing or runny nose), continue to isolate until your symptoms resolve.

2. If you were notified that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the community, but have not tested positive for COVID-19

  • If you have been boosted, or completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months, or received one dose of the J&J vaccine within the last two months wear a mask around others for 10 calendar days and obtain a COVID-19 test on day five, if possible. If you develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test and quarantine.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the isolation instructions above.

3. If you were notified by OMC that you were a 'close contact' exposure at the Lab but have not tested positive for COVID-19

  • If you have been boosted, or completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months, or received the J&J vaccine within the last two months follow the Brookhaven Lab masking policy on site and when offsite wear a mask around others for 10 calendar days, and obtain a COVID-19 test through OMC on day five. Note: OMC is not authorized to provide testing for close contacts occurring outside of the Lab.
  • If you develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test and quarantine. If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the isolation instructions above.

4. If you have been exposed either in the community or at the Lab, and if you completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over six months ago and are not boosted, or received the J&J vaccine over two months ago and are not boosted, or if you are entirely unvaccinated against COVID-19

  • Quarantine for five calendar days, and then continue to wear a mask around others for five additional calendar days.
  • If you develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test and quarantine. If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the isolation instructions above.

COVID-19 Testing

There is a very high demand on testing services and supplies in our region. In an effort to expand access to testing, Suffolk County announced the opening of three new community-based testing sites. Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests will be administered at these sites on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also find an appointment with the NY State Department of Health scheduler.

Updated Time Card Coding Guidance

  • The use of the Weather & Safety Leave (WSL) time card code ended midnight Dec. 31, 2021.
  • If an employee is required to quarantine based on the new CDC guidance indicated above, or isolate as a result of a positive COVID-19 test, use sick time and mark the time card accordingly.
  • See pandemic time card reporting guidelines.
  • If an employee has been approved to work remotely, they should charge the appropriate activity code that they would normally charge.

The Lab will continue to monitor local and regional conditions and federal, state, and DOE guidelines, and CDC guidance, and make additional changes as needed.