By Anthony G. Stergio, Andrews Myers, PC
Last week the CDC urged both that fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors in areas where transmission rates are either substantial or high (which includes most of Texas). The reason for this change is that the CDC now believes that fully vaccinated people, who experience rare breakthrough infections of the Delta variant, can transmit the virus as readily as infected, unvaccinated people. Regardless of the recommendations of the CDC, or the wishes of Texas local officials, local mask mandates will not likely come back in Texas due to the Governor’s Executive Order. Private employers and retail establishments, however, may renew mask requirements as the Delta variant concerns intensify. This is advisable as OSHA recognizes COVID-19 as a workplace hazard and has stated that it can issue workplace citations under the General Duty Clause for workplaces that do not properly address this hazard.
The CDC also recommended that fully vaccinated people should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. They should isolate if they test positive. Fully vaccinated people who live in a household with someone who is immunosuppressed, at increased risk of severe disease, or unvaccinated (including children <12 years of age) should also consider masking at home for 14 days following a known exposure or until they receive a negative test result. Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, if they follow the testing and masking recommendation above.
Fully vaccinated people should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.
Anthony “Tony” Stergio is a board certified Labor and Employment Law Attorney at Andrews Myers, PC in Houston, TX.