Division Title

​Personal Safety Guidance


Self-monitoring can prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by limiting the exposure of others to symptomatic personnel. Each day prior to work staff shall assess themselves for any symptoms associated with coronavirus. Staff should also determine if any people living with them have COVID-19 symptoms. According to the most recent CDC Guidance these symptoms are:

  • Fever, chills
  • Cough
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

NIH staff experiencing any of these symptoms (or that have contact with people with these symptoms within the last 14 days) should contact Occupational Medical Service (OMS) for an evaluation by completing the OMS COVID-19 screening questionnaire. A variety of factors, including vaccination status, exposure risk, and what locations at NIH that you work will be used to determine if you should go to work, receive testing, or self-quarantine. Please contact your supervisor to discuss your leave or duty status. Notify your supervisor. If you experience severe symptoms, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider, go to the Emergency Room, or call 911.

Symptomatic Personnel

Personnel who are symptomatic must:

  • Refrain from reporting to work or, if at work, immediately leave work if symptoms develop during the work shift  
  • Submit an OMS COVID-19 Screening questionnaire. This is used for both screening and scheduling a test as well as reporting community positive test results,  
  • Receive a PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 test at the earliest For-Cause testing opportunity 
    • If COVID test is negative - remain away from work until at least 24 hours after fever has resolved and other symptoms are improving. Fever must not be resolved with - fever-reducing medications (e.g., Ibuprophen, Tylenol, aspirin, etc.) 
    • If COVID test is positive refer to  the section What to do if You Test Positive in this document. 

Employees working in healthcare settings should be referred to Clinical Center Infection Control and Prevention policies for additional guidance.

Risk Factors for Severe Illness

COVID-19 can affect anyone, and the disease can cause symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. The elderly, persons with underlying medical conditions (e.g., cancer, immune compromising conditions or medications, diabetes, obesity, COPD, etc.), and pregnant or recently pregnant people are at higher risk. However, ANYONE can contract COVID-19 and become severely ill, including younger populations and vaccinated people. The CDC defines severe illness for COVID-19 as requiring hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to breathe or death.