Protocols for COVID-19 Exposures and Cases
Updated: August 25, 2022
On Aug. 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated 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 actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. These changes have been adopted by DOE and the national labs, and incorporated in Brookhaven’s Workplace Safety and Reentry Plan.
The major change is that instead of at-home quarantine based on vaccination status, all individuals who have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 but are asymptomatic can continue to work as normal, but must wear a high-quality mask (surgical or KN-95) while on site, take other post-exposure precautions (such as avoiding crowding and physically distancing from others), and watch for symptoms for 10 full days after exposure, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
In addition, all individuals identified as a close contact must test on day 6 after their last exposure, either via an at-home antigen test or a PCR laboratory test.
The following definitions apply to the protocols below:
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.
Close Contact - As defined by the CDC, anyone who has been within 6 feet of someone with confirmed COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period is considered a "close contact." That 15 minute/24 hour timeframe begins two days before the confirmed case began to develop symptoms or, if they're asymptomatic, two days before they tested positive. If you have not been within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, you are not considered a close contact.
1. If you test positive for COVID-19
- Notify the Occupational Medicine Clinic (OMC) at Ext. 3670 if you have been on site in the previous 10 days or had a close contact with another Lab employee during the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or, if you’re asymptomatic, your positive test.
- If you have not been on site in the previous 10 days, you do not have to notify OMC, but should let your supervisor know you are ill.
- In either case, isolate for a minimum of five calendar days.
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five calendar days, you can end isolation with the concurrence of OMC staff 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 are notified that you are a close contact
Staff who are notified by OMC that they are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case:
- Do not need to quarantine and can continue to work as normal
- Must wear a high-quality mask (surgical or KN-95) while on site, take other post-exposure precautions (such as avoiding crowding and physically distancing from others), and watch for symptoms for 10 full days after exposure
- Must test six days after date of exposure, either via an at-home antigen test or a PCR laboratory test. Day 1 is considered the day after the individual last came into contact with the confirmed case.
- Symptom-free individuals can test on site on or after Day 6, and can schedule a test by calling Ext. 3962 or online.
- Should take a test off site if they develop symptoms, stay home, and report symptoms and the test results to OMC. Note that symptomatic individuals should take a PCR test since rapid tests can sometimes result in false negative results. OMC will then advise the individual as to when they can return to the site.
If you have questions on how to mark your time while sick or quarantining, follow the time card reporting guidance.
COVID-19 testing is widely available at this time at local pharmacies, doctors' offices, and walk-in clinics. You can also find an appointment with the NY State Department of Health scheduler.
Updated Time Card Coding Guidance
- If an employee is required to isolate as a result of a positive COVID-19 test, see the pandemic time card reporting guidelines.
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.