NewQ: How should an agency determine the level of community transmission related to a given federal facility? For safety protocols that are based on level of community transmission, such as mask-wearing for fully vaccinated individuals, how should an agency determine when to change such requirements based on local conditions?
A: In applying COVID-19 workplace safety protocols connected to levels of community transmission in a given area, agencies should reference the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View.
Agencies may use discretion in determining the counties relevant to the determination of the level of community transmission in a given area for a given federal facility. For example, agencies may consider the county in which an agency facility is located, the transmission levels of surrounding local counties from which employees and visitors travel to the facility, and transmission levels in counties through which employees based at a given facility regularly travel over the course of their work in the field and between various work sites.
Agencies should assess transmission rates in a given area at least weekly to determine proper mask-wearing requirements. When the level of transmission related to a given federal facility increases from low or moderate to substantial or high, federal agencies should put in place more protective safety protocols consistent with CDC guidelines and guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force as soon as operationally feasible. The agency should not wait, for example, for a multi-day or multi-week trend to be established.
However, when the level of transmission related to a given federal facility is reduced from high or substantial to moderate or low, the level of transmission must remain at that lower level for at least two consecutive weeks before the agency utilizes those protocols recommended for areas of moderate or low transmission by CDC guidelines and guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.
Where a locality imposes more protective pandemic-related safety requirements, those requirements should be followed by federal employees and onsite contractor employees, in federal buildings, in federally controlled indoor worksites, and on federal lands within that locality.