Important Message From Nurse Fogleman

I've been asked a couple of times over the last few days about what to do if an employee has been exposed to a known case or suspected case of COVID-19 while out in the general public and if they should return to work. I have included below, the CDC guidance for community exposure for every US resident. I bold typed what should be done for anyone that has had close contact with a positive or suspected positive case that might not necessarily live in the same home as the case or be a caregiver. This explains what is "close contact" and what is "prolonged amount of time", according to the CDC. I'll also put the link to the cdc guideline for this document at the bottom of the email. 

Current guidance based on community exposure, for asymptomatic persons exposed to persons with known or suspected COVID-19 or possible COVID-19

Travelershealth care workers and critical infrastructure workers should follow guidance that include special consideration for these groups. CDC’s recommendations for community-related exposures are provided below. Individuals should always follow guidance of the state and local authorities.

Current guidance based on community exposure, for asymptomatic persons exposed to persons with known or suspected COVID-19 or possible COVID-19


Exposure to

Recommended Precautions for the Public

  • Household member
  • Intimate partner
  • Individual providing care in a household without using recommended infection control precautions
  • Individual who has had close contact (< 6 feet)** for a prolonged period of time ***
  • Stay home until 14 days after last exposure and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others at all times
  • Self-monitor for symptoms
    • Check temperature twice a day
    • Watch for fever*, cough, or shortness of breath
  • Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness (unless they live in the same home and had same exposure)
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

All U.S. residents, other than those with a known risk exposure

  • Possible unrecognized COVID-19 exposures in U.S. communities
  • Be alert for symptoms
    • Watch for fever*, cough, or shortness of breath
    • Take temperature if symptoms develop
  • Practice social distancing
    • Maintain 6 feet of distance from others
    • Stay out of crowded places
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

*For the purpose of this guidance, fever is defined as subjective fever (feeling feverish) or a measured temperature of 100.4oF (38oC) or higher. Note that fever may be intermittent or may not be present in some people, such as those who are elderly, immunosuppressed, or taking certain medications (e.g., NSAIDs).

** Data are limited to define of close contact. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity, the duration of exposure (e.g., longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the individual has symptoms (e.g., coughing likely increases exposure risk) and whether the individual was wearing a facemask (which can efficiently block respiratory secretions from contaminating others and the environment).

***Data are insufficient to precisely define the duration of time that constitutes a prolonged exposure. Recommendations vary on the length of time of exposure from 10 minutes or more to 30 minutes or more. In healthcare settings, it is reasonable to define a prolonged exposure as any exposure greater than a few minutes because the contact is someone who is ill. Brief interactions are less likely to result in transmission; however, symptoms and the type of interaction (e.g., did the person cough directly into the face of the individual) remain important.

Integration of these definitions and actions into communications and actions of public health authorities can be guided by CDC’s “Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmissionpdf icon


I am just sharing the guidance, but I also understand that people are fearful about being near any positive or suspected case, no matter  

the distance, because of contaminated surfaces, etc. 



Kelly Fogleman, BSN, RN, NCSN

 Coordinated School Health Coordinator