An approved work quarantine allows a Close Contact who is deemed an essential critical infrastructure worker to continue working during their ordered quarantine so long as they have no symptoms. However, this is only to be approved when all other staffing options have been exhausted and public safety will be compromised if the staff person is unable to return to work. The CDC recommends that work quarantines be used as a last resort and only in limited circumstances.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines essential critical infrastructure workers as those who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure. Essential critical infrastructure worker designation applies to sixteen sectors and is intended to be overly inclusive. Please refer to the image below for examples.
ALL work quarantines must be approved by the Missoula City-County Health Department. MCCHD uses guidance from the US. Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine eligibility and work quarantine protocols. Click here for the Work Quarantine Application.
The Process to Request a Work Quarantine:
Determine if the individual and situation meet the eligibility requirements.
Initiate the request by emailing the following information
Work Quarantine requests will be processed within 24 hours.
A Case Monitoring team member will reply within 24 hours by providing signed approval from MCCHD, requesting more information, or explaining why the request is denied.
Health Care Organization Criteria:
Hospitals do not need to request work quarantines through the Health Department. Hospitals are given permission from the Health Officer to approve work quarantines for their own employees.
In addition to the above mentioned eligibility requirements, all health care organizations requesting a work quarantine must adhere to the CDC’s Contingency Capacity Strategies to Mitigate Staffing Shortages.
The CDC recommends that any health care worker (HCW) who is a Close Contact is excluded from work for full quarantine period after last exposure. However, if staffing shortages occur, it might not be possible to exclude the exposed HCW from work.
Contingency capacities direct healthcare facilities to develop appropriate plans so asymptomatic HCWs who had an unprotected exposure to Covid-19 but are not known to be infected can continue working.