MDHHS updates Agricultural and Food Processing Employee testing order; exempts fully vaccinated individuals from routine testing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2021
Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated its Order for COVID-19 testing for agricultural employees to align with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to exempt fully vaccinated individuals from routine screening testing.

"We are updating this order to align with CDC guidance on testing of fully vaccinated individuals," said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. "Fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals will now be exempt from most testing requirements. We encourage everyone to join the 60% of Michiganders who have already been vaccinated with one of the three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible."

"Michigan's migrant and agricultural workforce is a critical link in our state's food supply chain, so their health and safety are always top of mind as we move through the final phases of the pandemic," said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. "Protecting workers while keeping Michigan moving is a very difficult task, and we are thankful for MDHHS' hard work and careful consideration when modifying screening and testing requirements for food workers and migrant labor housing providers."

Under the Order, housing operators must:

  • Provide testing for any housing resident exhibiting the principal symptoms of COVID-19 or has suspected exposure to COVID-19, regardless of that individual's vaccination status.
  • Provide testing for all newly arriving residents within 48 hours after arrival unless the resident is fully vaccinated and is not exhibiting the principal symptoms of COVID-19 or has already been tested in the previous 72 hours.
  • To the greatest extent possible, house newly arriving residents in a separate living unit from current residents for the number of days as directed by the CDC, currently 14 days after arrival, unless they are fully vaccinated.
  • If housing in a separate living unit cannot be accomplished, newly arriving residents, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a face mask at all times during the first 14 days after arrival, or the number of days as directed by the CDC if different, including in dwelling units and after work hours, except when eating, drinking, or performing personal hygiene activities or if the resident cannot medically tolerate a face mask.
  • Provide a second test to newly arriving residents 10 to 14 days after arrival unless they are fully vaccinated.

Employers of migrant or seasonal workers and agricultural operations with over 20 employees on-site at a time must:

  • Provide testing for any worker exhibiting the principal symptoms of COVID-19 or who has suspected exposure to COVID-19, regardless of that individual's vaccination status.
  • Provide testing for all new workers prior to beginning work unless they are fully vaccinated and not exhibiting the principal symptoms of COVID-19.

Employers and housing operators have several options for completing testing, including contracting with a medical provider, occupational health provider, laboratory or other vendor. Employers and housing operators facing challenges arranging testing may submit a request for testing assistance to MDHHS at a COVID Tests/Support Request.

Following a positive test of a worker, employers must take all precautions in accordance with relevant guidance from the CDC to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

The latest information about COVID-19 is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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