What If An Attendee Tests Positive for COVID?

Omicron has created a new meetings landscape. Here’s what planners need to know if an attendee tests positive for COVID.

The highly contagious Omicron variant hasn’t put a stop to safe face-to-face meetings, but it is causing rising numbers of breakthrough COVID infections. What planners need to know if an attendee tests positive is that only certain close contacts of the infected individual need to quarantine.

For example, when 8 attendees so far at PCMA’s Convening Leaders Summit this week have tested positive for COVID—despite adhering to strong safety protocols including proof of vaccine and masking—they immediately relinquished their entry badges. Although several people out of nearly 2,500 was a very small percentage of total attendance, PCMA alerted all meeting participants and asked that they continue to mask up and frequently wash hands. The organization was committed to transparency and communication, and sent out a daily health and safety update to all attendees and press.

According to the CDC, only certain groups of people who have been exposed to positive attendees need to quarantine. First, they have to be close contacts, which is defined as someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. (For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes creates a close contact situation.)

Close contacts who fit any of the following criteria need to quarantine:

•Ages 18 or older who have had the first two shots of a recommended vaccine, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.

•People who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine more than 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.

•People who are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.

Close contacts in the following categories do not need to quarantine:

•Ages 18 or older who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.

•Ages 5-17 years who have completed the primary series of Covid-19 vaccines.

•People tested positive with a viral Covid-19 test within the last 90 days.

Check CDC guidelines on quarantine and isolation for more details and updates.

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