Select health and medical related FAQs from the dropdown.
Q: I may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. What should I do?
A: Military Personnel on active duty: (Contact the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-874-2273, option 1. You can also go to MHS Nurse Advice Line, or call your primary care clinic.
Reservists not on active duty: see questions A13 and A14
Civilians: Call your primary care clinic.
All: If your health care provider recommends that you self-isolate, then you must notify your command. Separate yourself from other people in your home/quarters and avoid sharing personal items. CDC provides information to people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself & Others | CDC
Q: I’m experiencing flu-like symptoms. I have a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. What should I do?
A: Flu, pneumonia, and COVID can present very similarly. These infections range from mild to severe, with some people requiring ventilator support while others never have any symptoms at all. People may be contagious prior to showing any symptoms. The CDC's Symptom Checker tool can help you decide if you need medical care.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever or chills, coughs, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
Q: My employee seems to have a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. What should I do?
A: Follow the Coast Guard COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart for guidance.
Q: What should I do if my doctor tells me to self-isolate or quarantine?
A: Notify your chain of command/supervisor, and change your status in CGPAAS to Quarantined.
Quarantine for 14 days and do not come in to your CG workspace.
If you display COVID symptoms, notify your doctor or primary care manager.
Q: What should I do if I need to care for a close family member required to self-isolate or quarantine?
A: Civilians: If you are diagnosed as being infected, or likely infected, with a quarantinable communicable disease, such as COVID-19, you are entitled to take accrued or advanced sick leave. Advanced leave is capped at 240 hours. If you exhaust your available sick leave, you can use other paid leave or paid time off. You may consider applying for donating leave under the Voluntary Leave Donation Program. You may also telework from home, under a voluntary telework agreement. If you have any questions, consult your supervisor or servicing HR Specialist: Servicing Assignment Representative
Military Personnel: Follow your Medical Officer/health care provider’s recommendations and directions. Inform your command immediately. In most cases your command will place you on sick leave.
Q: What is the Coast Guard doing to help medical providers care for patients despite social distancing?
A: Healthcare providers are now allowed to use popular video chat applications like Skype for Business, Updox, and Zoom for Healthcare to communicate with patients. Members may use personally owned devices for telemedicine with their health care providers. Medical personnel cannot use personal devices, and VTC public facing platforms must be HIPPA compliant. For additional information read ALCOAST 096/20 .
Personnel may also use the following non-HIPAA compliant private facing applications for telehealth services during the COVID-19 national public health emergency: Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype (preferred). Personnel shall not use public facing applications, such as Facebook Live, Twitch, and TikTok.
Q. Does EEO law allow supervisors to require employees to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms?
A. Yes. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 must leave the workplace. EEO law does not interfere with employers following this advice.
Q. When employees return to work after recovering from COVID-19, may supervisors require doctors' notes certifying their fitness for duty?
A. Yes. Such inquiries are permitted under EEO law. The Coast Guard could require a fitness-for-duty evaluation if a supervisor was concerned that the illness wasn’t fully resolved or had questions about the employee’s ability to perform their work after recovery from COVID-19.
Q: I’m a reservist. What if I am exposed to COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms while in a qualified duty status, including while traveling to or from duty?
A: Reservists on orders greater than 30 days are TRICARE eligible and should seek care at a military treatment facility or through the TRICARE network. Members on orders less than 30 days (e.g., IDT, ADT-AT) should follow the CDC recommendations, and contact their civilian health care provider. Once your immediate care is complete, notify your command and work with them to take the appropriate steps to continue care or return to duty. The member should discuss with the command the requirement to initiate the Line Of Duty (LOD) determination process. See F16 and F17 for more information on the LOD process.
Q: What if I am now home but believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19 while on ADT/IDT?
A: Reservists not in a military duty status who believe they have COVID-19 symptoms should follow the CDC recommendations and contact their civilian health care provider for guidance and contact their chain of command. If reservists not in a military duty status receive a positive test for COVID-19, they should contact their Command, and work with them to complete a Line of Duty Determination (LOD). A LOD determination is an administrative tool to determine whether a reservist was in a qualified duty status when an injury, illness, or disease was incurred or aggravated. An in-LOD determination is necessary to determine which benefits are eligible to the member. The LOD must specify ALL details, such as when you were exposed and when you found out.
The Reserve Policy Manual COMDTINST M1001.28 (series), Chapter 6 para. F, and the Administrative Investigations Manual COMDTINST M5830.1 (series), Chapter 7, provide guidance on procedures to follow for both commands and reservists.
A19 Q: I got an alert from CGPAAS, and I’m confused about what to do next. *Updated 6/19/2020*
A: The CGPAAS COVID-19 Reporting Tool User Guide is available at http://cglink.uscg.mil/13687794. If you still need help, email the CGPAAS Help Desk at email@example.com. If you are unable to update your status, your unit CGPAAS Commanding Officer Representative (COR) can update your status on your behalf. If you do not know who your COR is, contact your supervisor.
A20 Q: When accessing CGPAAS, my device warns me that the connection is not private and that CGPAAS may be trying to steal my information. *Updated 4/23/2020*
A: CGPAAS is hosted on a secure Navy server that uses DOD security certificates that are often not recognized by commercial/personal devices. Bypass the security notice by clicking “Show Details” and then click “visit this website.” Then choose “Click here to access the non-mobile version” at the bottom of the CGPAAS login screen.
A21 Q: How do I know which CGPAAS status best describes me? *Updated 6/19/2020*
A: Current Personnel Status definitions are available in the CGPAAS COVID-19 module, by selecting the help button or link for personnel status definitions.
Unaffected: Member is not quarantined, isolated, hospitalized, or released. If member was previously quarantined while awaiting diagnosis and a health care professional determines the member does not have COVID-19, member returns to unaffected status.
Quarantined: Member was in direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case, or close contact (>15 minutes) to a COVID-19 case WITHOUT PPE, or member displays COVID-19 symptoms and member has been separated from the general population while awaiting diagnosis or test results.
Isolated: Member either 1) Positive COVID-19 test or 2) Diagnosed with COVID-19 by healthcare professional. Must include one of the following notes, "1. Positive test" or "2. Clinically diagnosed".
Hospitalized: Member has been admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19. Must include one of the following notes, "1. Positive COVID-19 test" or "2. Clinically diagnosed".
Released: Prior isolated or hospitalized member, who has recovered and been released by a healthcare professional. This status does NOT apply to individuals who are released from Quarantine. Must include one of the following notes, "1. Positive COVID-19 test" or "2. Clinically diagnosed".
Deceased: A person who is either known to have died, determined to have died on the basis of conclusive evidence, or declared to be dead on the basis of a presumptive finding of death, due to COVID-19. This option only used by HQ staff or casualty affairs staff.
For work status definitions:
Working On-site: Member spends a majority (more than 50%) of required work time on-site at their normal work location (including duty watchstanders, pre-COVID telework), not using situational telework or weather & safety leave.
Working Off-site: Member spends a majority (more than 50%) of work time away from their normal work location, using situational telework.
Not Working: Member is unable to work at normal work site and unable to telework.
A22 Q: Why do I see an option in CGPAAS to select “Deceased” as my personnel status? *Updated 4/23/2020*
A: Although this option is visible in the dropdown menu, it can only be selected by CGHQ and casualty affairs staff with specific CGPAAS permissions.
A23 Q: My contact information in CGPAAS is wrong. How can I correct it? *Updated 4/23/2020*
A: Edit and update your information in CGPAAS by selecting the “Edit Contact Info” button on the top right of the CGPAAS home screen. Make your edits and select the “Save” button on the bottom of the screen. Lastly, update your contact information in Direct Access, Active Directory, National Finance Center and DEERS to prevent them from overwriting your corrected CGPAAS data. For help, use the following the guide on the CG Portal at http://cglink.uscg.mil/e9b39aa4.
A24 Q: I am concerned about inputting personal information into CGPAAS. Does reporting my status create a medical record protected by HIPAA? *Updated 4/23/2020*
A: No, your status does not constitute HIPAA-protected information. Depending on your response, it may contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII). All CGPAAS CORs are trained in the proper collection, maintenance, protection, storage, and destruction of PII contained within the CGPAAS system. All DoD services and agencies are utilizing similar reporting requirements and status definitions in their respective PAAS systems.
Q. I’m fully vaccinated. When and where do I need to wear a mask? *updated 8/18/2021*
A. Consistent with CDC guidance in areas of high or substantial transmission, all personnel (Military, Civilian, Non-Appropriated Fund employees, and Auxiliary), on-site Contractors, and visitors must wear a mask inside USCG operated buildings, regardless of the ability to maintain social distancing and regardless of vaccination status.
On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance on Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Consistent with CDC guidance, in areas of high or substantial transmission (see the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View), Federal employees, contractors, and visitors must wear a mask inside Federal buildings, except for the limited exceptions consistent with CDC guidelines, such as:
In areas of low or moderate transmission, in most settings, fully vaccinated people generally do not need to wear a mask or physically distance in Federal buildings or on Federal land, except where required by Federal, State, local, Tribal, or territorial laws, rules, or regulations. Fully vaccinated individuals might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission for a variety of reasons. Nothing in CDC guidance precludes an employee from wearing a mask, if the employee so chooses. CDC’s guidance for mask wearing and physical distancing in specific settings, including healthcare, transportation, correctional and detention facilities, and schools, should be followed, as applicable.
Q: I’m not vaccinated. When and where am I required to wear a face mask? *updated 8/18/2021*
A. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear masks maintain distance and properly. Those who decline to provide information about their vaccination status—including employees, onsite contractors, and those visitors who are required to provide vaccination status— must wear masks properly and maintain distance, regardless of community transmission level.
All Coast Guard personnel must continue to comply with local, state, federal and CDC guidance regarding areas where masks should be worn.
Q: Does making unvaccinated personnel wear a mask violate HIPAA?
A. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and its Privacy Rule have provisions to restrict a “covered entity” (such as an insurer or healthcare provider) from sharing a person’s protected health information without the person’s knowledge or consent, or pursuant to one of the law’s enumerated exceptions. While the CG’s organic healthcare practice is a covered entity and must abide by HIPAA when it comes to the handling of medical records, the rest of the CG is not. HIPAA does not regulate what questions can be asked of a person.
The mask itself is not protected health information nor does HIPAA apply to them. The main way to know whether someone is vaccinated or not is by asking them.
Anyone could ask a person if they’re vaccinated and the person is free to disclose or withhold that information. This is not unlike schools requesting vaccination status information for enrollment at all levels. It is a common misconception that employers or businesses are not allowed to inquire about an individual’s vaccination status. Most often cited is that this is a violation of HIPAA, which is untrue. You have no rights that prevent you from being asked a question about your vaccination status.
Often, the misunderstanding regarding masks and vaccines comes with a concern about discrimination. In December 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal workplace anti-discrimination laws, put out guidance explaining that the employer asking this question, or requiring proof of vaccination, does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), as long as employers are careful about what vaccination-related question are asked. A possible violation might be if an employer’s questioning attempted might elicit information about a specific disability, such as when asking why a worker didn’t get vaccinated.
Because the intent is to increase the safety of the environment or event, employers should be comfortable asking employees or others sharing a work or recreation space, about their vaccination status. Those who refuse to answer will be treated as though they are unvaccinated. In some cases, businesses may be governed by newly passed state laws regarding inquiry of COVID vaccination status. But this is not a HIPAA provision.
Information on whether military personnel have been vaccinated is available in Coast Guard Business Intelligence (CGBI) in the same tab as the annual influenza vaccination status.
Q: If I continue to wear a mask, can I wear any type of face mask I choose?
A. No, the Coast Guard does not authorize face masks with exhalation valves/vents or single layer neck gaiters for safety reasons and all face masks must be of neutral colors.
Q. I’ve received one dose of the vaccine but I am waiting for my second dose. Do I need to wear a mask? *Updated 08/06/2021*
A. Yes. Someone who is not fully vaccinated, including those that are not at least two weeks beyond their second dose is considered unvaccinated and must wear a mask regardless of community transmission level and maintain social distance.
Q: What type of material should I use for a cloth face masks?
A: The CDC recommends using two pieces of cotton, roughly the thickness of an average tee shirt, for making your own DIY cloth face covering. Your old tee shirts can be used for this purpose. Your District Safety and Environmental Health Officer or clinic medical provider can help address any specific questions you might have based on your family’s needs.
Q: Are my old Coast Guard ODUs and blue tee shirts safe to use as cloth face masks?
A: Yes, the Coast Guard ODUs are an option to construct a face covering. DoD BDUs are not. If you do use Coast Guard ODU material, be aware of airflow concerns.
Q: Can I wear any type of face mask I choose?
A: No, the Coast Guard does not authorize face masks with exhalation valves/vents or single layer neck gaiters for safety reasons and all face masks must be of neutral colors.
Q: Should I wear an N95 respirator at work?
A: An N95 respirator should not take the place of a cloth or disposable face mask. An N95 respirator is considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and should be reserved for those who require it (health-care workers, high-risk individuals, etc). The exception to this is all Coast Guard members traveling in support of FORCECOM training are required to wear a properly fit-tested N95 respirator in accordance with their travel orders.
A27 (formerly M1) Q: If a single member assigned afloat residing on the ship is directed to quarantine, where does this member quarantine?
A: Member will be quarantined in Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) single occupancy rooms that do not share a bathroom and/or kitchen facility.
A28 (formerly M2) Q: What if a single member residing in single or multi-occupancy UPH room, including single occupancy homes converted to UPH and Unaccompanied Personnel Leased Housing (UPLH) is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: A member residing in a single occupancy UPH with a private bathroom and/or kitchen facility will remain in their assigned room. A member residing in UPH with a shared bathroom and/or kitchen facility will be relocated to a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
Members residing in multi-occupancy UPH that has a private bathroom and/or kitchen facility will remain in their assigned rooms during quarantine. If only one occupant is directed to quarantine, that member will be relocated to a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
A29 (formerly M3) Q: What if a single member residing on the economy is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: The member will be quarantined in their private home.
A30 (formerly M4) Q: What if a married member residing as a geographical bachelor is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: If a member’s private residence is not within a reasonable commuting distance of the Permanent Duty Station, the member may be temporarily assigned to a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
A31 (formerly M5) Q: What if a married member residing in CG-owned or CG-leased housing is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: The member will be quarantined in their CG-owned or leased home. Members with dependents may request to be quarantined in a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
A32 (formerly M6) Q: What if a married member residing on the economy is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: The member will be quarantined in their private home. Members with dependents may request to be quarantined in a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
A33 (formerly M7) Q. What if a member married to a member residing in CG-owned or CG-leased housing is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: If both members are exposed, they will be quarantined in their CG-owned or CG-leased home. If only one member is exposed, that member will be assigned to a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
A34 (formerly M8) Q: What if a member married to a member residing on the economy is directed to quarantine. Where does this member quarantine?
A: If both members are exposed, they will be quarantined in their private home. If one member is exposed, that member will be assigned to a single occupancy UPH room with private facilities.
A35 (formerly M9) Q: Will members be required to pay a UPH service fee if they are temporarily assigned to UPH as a result of exposure to COVID-19?
A: CG-133 has authorized UPH fee waivers for members directed to quarantine. This waiver is only authorized for the duration of quarantine. Local Housing Officers must report the number and amounts of waivers to PSC-PSD-fs.
A36 (formerly M10) Q: What if there are no UPH rooms with private facilities to quarantine members?
A: If a UPH room with private facilities is not available, contracted quarters will be acquired for the duration of quarantine. See paragraph 10 of ALCOAST 071/20 for guidance on funding.
A37 (formerly M11) Q: When a CG member completes their 14 days of self-monitoring without showing any symptoms, do they need to be cleared in any way before returning to work?
A: There is no need for medical clearance if the member is not exhibiting symptoms.
A38 (formerly M12) Q: I was in close contact with a friend who got tested for COVID, and therefore I had to self-quarantine for 14 days. Their test was negative. Do I still need to stay home for the remainder of the 14 day period?
A: If your friend’s test results are negative, you no longer need to self-monitor.
A39 (formerly M13) Q: I just completed my PCS move but was ordered to quarantine because I came from a COVID-19 impacted area. If I can’t move into housing yet, is there an allowance that could help?
A: Yes, both members and dependents may be entitled to isolation allowance. Contact your inbound unit SPO to determine if you are entitled to this allowance.
Q. May a supervisor delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it?
A. Yes. According to current CDC guidance, an individual who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it should not be in the workplace.
Q. May an employer withdraw a job offer when it needs the applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 symptoms?
A. Consult with your Civilian HR Office to discuss options, including delaying the start date. However, depending on the situation, the Coast Guard is able to withdraw a job offer.
A46 (formerly H1) Q: Are enclosed mass gatherings related to mission-essential work authorized?
A: Yes. Mass gatherings related to mission-essential work are necessary and authorized. This may include holding quarters on a cutter, conducting a navigation brief, or manning a small boat station; each of these gatherings is essential to carry out high-priority Coast Guard missions.
A47 (formerly H2) Q: What things should be considered when holding an enclosed-space mass gathering in accordance with normal Coast Guard customs and operations? *Updated 8/6/2021*
A: Events of any size should only be continued if they can be conducted by protecting vulnerable participants, observing social distancing, and taking the proper hand washing procedures. However, mass gatherings related to mission-essential work are necessary and authorized.
Consistent with CDC guidance, USCG or DHS hosted in-person meetings, conferences, or other indoor events that will be attended by more than 50 participants must be approved by the Secretary of DHS, regardless of whether participants include members of the public. Requests for approval shall be submitted through the chain of command to CG CCAT. Normal periodic unit meetings which exceed 50 CG participants (e.g., all hands musters, training, Area Maritime Security Committee meetings, mission-essential exercises) are exempt from this process. Command decisions regarding outdoor events of 50 participants, which do not require Secretary of DHS approval, should carefully consider the potential for unfavorable publicity/media attention.
A48 (formerly H3) Q: We would like to have an inside gathering at our unit. What should I consider to evaluate risk?
A: FORCECOM has created an Enclosed Space Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool to help units make decisions about hosting gatherings. The assessment tool can be found on the COVID-19 Community of Practice page.