whentotest

If a lot of people have COVID in the region where you work, going to work is riskier. These questions will help you figure out how risky that region is.

RiskierLess Risky
Are most people who live in that area vaccinated?NoYes
Do most people in that area wear masks?NoYes

According to OSHA, if there’s a lot of COVID going around the area where you work, the level of COVID risk your type of job has depends on three factors:

  • Whether you have to work with people who have COVID.

  • How close you have to be to other people, and for how long.

  • How much fresh air there is where you work.

Very high risk

These are jobs that require interaction with people who have COVID. They are mostly health-care jobs.

High risk

These kinds of jobs require lots of contact with coworkers or the public over a long period of time. They also take place indoors, in areas without much fresh air. Examples are:

  • Jobs in restaurants, especially small ones.

  • Jobs in bars.

  • Jobs in some retail stores.

Medium risk

These jobs require close contact with coworkers or the public, but they happen in places with lots of fresh air. Examples are:

  • Construction

  • Agriculture

  • Some retail stores

  • Some grocery stores

  • Some offices

Low risk

These jobs do not require contact with others. They are typically office jobs that can be done from home.

These COVID tools will help you reduce your risk while you're at work:

  • Keeping up to date with vaccines.

  • Wearing a high-quality, well-fitted mask that fits well and is comfortable to wear all day.

  • If possible, increasing the amount of fresh, clean air in the area where you work.

  • If possible, spending less time indoors or in crowds of people.

  • Keeping some rapid tests at home in case you get sick or are in contact with someone who’s infected.

  • Talking to your employer about safeguards your workplace has in place.

If there’s a lot of COVID going around the area you travel through to work, using these COVID tools will help keep you safer.

  • Keeping up to date with vaccines.

  • Wearing high-quality masks that fit well.

  • Walking or cycling instead of taking buses, trains, or other public transportation.

  • On buses, sitting in open-air sections, if available.

  • On buses and trains, sitting farther away from other people, if possible.

  • Avoiding crowded areas when possible.

If you have COVID symptoms, you should get tested before you go to work or are around other people.

If you test positive

If you test negative

  • That’s good news, but your condition might change. After you’ve been exposed to COVID, it takes a few days for enough virus to grow in your body that you test positive.

  • Test again 24 – 48 hours later. The amount of time you should wait varies depending on the brand of test — check the package to make sure.

  • It's a good idea to wear a mask around other people until you get the result of your second test.

  • You can also get a lab test to confirm your result.

First, check your employer's rules. Your workplace may have its own instructions for close contacts.

You'll need to wear a mask around others for a while. You may also need to quarantine and to get tested soon, depending on your situation: