Updated guidance for State employees (travel, masks, symptoms)

As the COVID-19 virus has reached community spread levels throughout the United States, specific regional travel restrictions are no longer relevant. All in-state business travel, regardless of location, has been limited to essential operational needs where no reasonable alternative is available. Regarding personal travel, all employees should follow the Safer at Home order.

Employees with the following symptoms should contact a health care provider. In most cases, you will be advised to self-isolate by staying home and not working until you are free of fever (>100.4°F), signs of a fever, AND respiratory symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath) for at least three days (72 hours) without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared:

·        Flu-like symptoms* [fever of 100.4° F or higher (with an oral thermometer)]

·        Cough or sore throat*

·        Headache or body aches

·        Diarrhea and vomiting

·        Symptoms of acute respiratory illness (fever of 100.4° F or higher using an oral thermometer), coughing, shortness of breath*

* Denotes COVID-19 Symptoms ​

In addition, the Department of Health Services has released guidance related to the use of cloth face coverings. Employees of DOC, DHS and DVA should follow the specific direction given by the agency and may be required to wear other masks, or personal protective equipment, if available. Where other direction is not in place by an agency, employees can wear clean, work appropriate, fabric face coverings, or masks, to work but are not required to do so.

Simple cloth face coverings may be helpful in slowing the spread of the virus to others. This is particularly true for people who may have the virus and do not know it. However, wearing a cloth face mask does not replace DHS recommendations for physical distancing and frequent hand washing. Key points include:

·       Before putting on a mask, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

·       Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose with no gaps between your face and the mask.

·       Do not touch your mask while wearing it; if you do, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

·       Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp.

·       Always wear your cloth reusable mask with the same side facing outwards.

·       Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

·       Continue staying at least 6 feet away from other people.

·       Continue following the recommendations for social distancing: avoid crowds, stay at home as much as possible, and just leave for essential tasks (e.g. work, grocery shopping, going to the doctor, getting medications).

The DHS COVID website has additional information about using cloth face coverings as masks including making, wearing, and washing of the masks.