Arlington, Virginia (U.S.)-based Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) has published an updated version of its COVID-19 Rapid Response Guide, with new information on contract tracing in workplaces as industries begin the reopen.
The updated guide is available here, published May 11, define best practice guidelines for worker health.
It suggests contact tracing as a measure to ensure employee safety and limit the spread of COVID-19 during phased reopenings.
Contact tracing is the act of identifying people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patientsor suspected carriers and collecting further information about these contacts. It includes testing them for infection, treating the infected, and tracing their contacts in turn.Currently, there is no single guide for implementing contact tracing.
Across the U.S., individual states are taking their own steps to implement contact tracing, according to The Guardian newspaper.
The COVID-19 Rapid Response Guide recommends consulting The Food and Beverage Issue Alliance (FIBA) guidelines, as it provides advice for identifying contacts of potentially exposed workers, follow up, and other considerations.
The FIBA guide defines contact tracing as “the identification of persons who may have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 orthat is symptomatic for COVID-19 given testing is not broadly accessible.”
The full FIBA guidelines can be found here under the title “Considerations for Identifying Exposed Employees as Related to COVID-19”.
Contact tracing is a necessary supplement to testing notes COVID-19 Rapid Response Guide, as testing is not uniform across the U.S., and only gives a “snapshot of COVID-19 incidence at a single point in time and should not be used as a ‘silver-bullet’ solution for COVID19 control and monitoring in food companies.”
For testing, the guide recommends employers also consult the FIBA factsheet, which can be found on its website, to see “the types of tests available along with guidelines for determining when and who to test.”
In addition to updating the section on testing and the importance of contact tracing, the COVID-19 Rapid Response Guide has new sections on what employers should consider when bringing employees back to work, as well as a more general survey of what the U.S. is doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sections on personal protective equipment, face masks, and gowns have also been edited and updated.