On Thursday, August 12, 2021, MIOSHA issued a statement strongly encouraging Michigan employers to follow recently updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines due to the Delta variant of COVID-19. The CDC is recommending bringing back a few of the protections that they had previously rolled back at the beginning of July.
Currently, the Delta variant accounts for around 80% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and it is more contagious, spreading faster than other variants (NY Times). While infection rates in fully vaccinated people are low, there are documented positive cases, and fully vaccinated individuals can transmit the Delta variant even if they are asymptomatic (CDC 1).
Delta Variant Symptoms:
The CDC and independent research show that the symptoms of the Delta variant are the same as the other variants, except that it grows much more rapidly, and thrives in greater numbers in the respiratory system (UC Davis). The symptoms to be aware of are:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Typically, vaccinated people are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they contract the Delta variant. Their symptoms are more like those of a common cold, such as cough, fever, or headache, with the addition of a significant loss of smell.
Current CDC Recommendations:
While the CDC hasn’t released any new requirements, they have provided new recommendations for fully vaccinated people given new evidence of the Delta variant currently circulating in the United States. These recommendations are as follows:
1.Masks- Per the CDC, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission (See Map Below). The CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised with increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
(CDC Transmission Map)
2.Reducing Spread- Fully vaccinated people who have come in close contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive should be tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. Isolation is recommended if a person tests positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or if they are experiencingCOVID-19 symptoms.
With the prevalence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the other variants becoming more pervasive in the United States, it is likely we will see more recommendations like the above. Employers need to remain vigilant and respond to CDC and local recommendations especially as infection rates continue to rise.
Sage Solutions Group provides up-to-date documentation and policies to keep your organization in line with CDC and local Health Department recommendations.
If you have questions or need help supporting your COVID-19 initiatives, please contact Sage today at 734-855-7187 or visit us at www.sagesolutionsgroup.com