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US CDC Chief Advises Essential Workers Exposed to COVID-19 May Return to Work if Monitored

© REUTERS / US NAVYU.S. Army Specialist Fredrick Spencer assembles a T1 Hamilton ventilator in a mobile lab unit in the Javits New York Medical Station intensive care unit bay monitoring coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in New York City, U.S. Apri 4, 2020
U.S. Army Specialist Fredrick Spencer assembles a T1 Hamilton ventilator in a mobile lab unit in the Javits New York Medical Station intensive care unit bay monitoring coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in New York City, U.S. Apri 4, 2020 - Sputnik International
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Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevented (CDC) Robert Redfield stated Wednesday that essential workers exposed to COVID-19 can return to work if they take certain precautions.

According to Redfield, essential workers who have been exposed to the deadly coronavirus can return to work if they are asymptomatic, take their temperatures, wear face masks and practice social distancing, Reuters reported.

​The guidelines are also expected to state that employers of those who have been exposed to COVID-19 take their employees' temperatures before they start work and send any employees who become sick during the workday home immediately. Employers will also be encouraged to "increase air exchange in the building," "increase the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces" and "test the use of face masks to make sure they do not interfere with workflow."

According to the 2013 Essential Services Act, an essential worker is someone whose work involves the safety of human life and the protection of property. Essential workers thus include members of law enforcement and public safety, health care providers and emergency personnel, as well as those in food production.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who is part of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, called the upcoming CDC guidelines “a very important piece," AP reported.

“It looks at degree of exposure and really making it clear that exposure occurs within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, so really understanding where you shouldn’t be within 6 feet of people right now,” Birx told CBS on Wednesday. “But if you’re in a work situation where you have to be, there will be a series of recommendations that if you had had a significant exposure of what specifically to do, and if you’ve had a less exposure what to do.”

At the end of March, US President Donald Trump said that his administration was extending its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Under the guidelines, those in critical infrastructure industries such as "health care services and pharmaceutical and food supply" have a "special responsibility to maintain [their] normal work schedules."

The coronavirus can cause mild or moderate symptoms such as a fever or cough for many people. However, in older adults and people with other health problems, the virus can cause pneumonia and death. In the US, there are more than 427,000 cases of the virus, and almost 15,000 people have died as a result.

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