The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday warned state employers to take the delta variant of COVID-19 seriously and heed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
For areas with substantial or high community transmission, the CDC recommends implementing face coverings for all employees and visitors indoors (including fully vaccinated individuals) and adopting the CDC recommended testing strategy for vaccinated employees that have been exposed to a COVID-19-positive person.
More than half of Michigan’s 83 counties are considered to be substantial or high community transmission areas.
MIOSHA officials said they are taking seriously the CDC’s guidelines given that the delta variant “is much more contagious, may infect those that have been vaccinated and may also allow vaccinated individuals to spread the virus,” according to a news release.
Officials said this is an acknowledgement that vaccinated individuals spreading the virus isn’t that low anymore.
“As transmission rates accelerate rapidly in many Michigan counties, Michigan employers should monitor the spread of COVID-19 in their local communities and follow the CDC’s guiding principles for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people to ensure we are all doing our part to keep workplaces safe for employees and customers,” said Sean Egan, the COVID-19 workplace safety director for MIOSHA.
But Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for now has ruled out issuing any epidemic orders that would require the wearing of masks inside buildings, instead preferring to urge residents to wear them.
MIOSHA said it has been encouraging employers to adopt policies that mirror the CDC guidelines, especially since dialing back workplace rules for non-healthcare settings in June.
“MIOSHA remains committed to protecting the safety and health of Michigan workers during this pandemic,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “As more Michigan communities move toward substantial or high levels of community transmission due to the Delta variant, MIOSHA is urging employers across the state to follow the CDC’s updated guidelines to protect employees and contain the spread of COVID-19.”