Frequently Asked Questions

This section covers how COVID-19 is spread, the symptoms, prevention, travel, virus safety policies, COVID-related time accounting, accessing hygiene and cleaning supplies, and what to do if one develops symptoms.

For info on COVID-19 testing, communication methods, cybersecurity awareness, primary entrances and cleaning and WFM terminals, click here

For what happens when an employee tests positive and returning to work after exposure, click here.

BIW is actively responding to the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus. We are working to provide as much information as possible to employees about the virus. The following “Frequently Asked Questions” outline steps the company is taking to keep our employees safe and informed.

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus which was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in other countries, including the United States. For some, the respiratory virus causes mild symptoms like the common cold or influenza (flu), for others it can cause severe pneumonia that requires medical care or hospitalization.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*: Fever, cough or shortness of breath. You may also experience chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of taste or smell.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include: Fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, bluish lips or face (This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning)

How can I help to prevent COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wear a face covering
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Click here to learn more about ways to stop the spread of coronavirus.

What do I do if I am at home and exhibit symptoms of being sick or I think I’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms?

If you feel you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or you have symptoms which include fever, shortness of breath or extensive coughing, you should isolate yourself, take your temperature and call your doctor.
Do not return to work unless you have called the BIW Nurse Triage Line at 207-442-4296 and have been cleared. Some people will need to be seen at BIW Medical before they can return to work but you must call first.
For more information on what to do if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, click here.

What should I do if I am at work and have symptoms that include fever, cough or shortness of breath?

Please notify your supervisor and call the BIW Nurse Triage Line at: 207-442-4296. Please do NOT go in person to Medical.

How will I get home if I have to leave work?

Employees should make a plan to have emergency transportation available to return home if sick. BIW Medical and EMS cannot transport employees home. If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you will be directed to one of our Ride Waiting Areas to wait for a ride home.

What should I do to make sure my family is made aware if I develop symptoms?

Please make sure your emergency contact information is up to date. To change your information, you can contact your admin or log on to K-NET.

Who is coordinating the company’s response?

The public health concerns for our employees and community associated with the Coronavirus or COVID-19 has been the subject of daily meetings among a multi-divisional team of BIW leaders working with senior leadership. The group has been in regular contact with state and federal public health authorities.

What are some of the steps have been taken?

BIW has taken a number of steps to plan for and attempt to minimize any threat of infection to our employees or their ability to work safely, including restricting travel, prohibiting non-essential visits to our facilities, screening essential visitors for respiratory illness, establishing a hotline for support, distributing personal hygiene and cleaning supplies throughout our facilities and communicating regularly with employees.

Around the shipyard we have adopted multiple measures such as:

  • All gates and MPTs (clock-in terminals) are now outfitted with hand sanitizing stations, allowing extra opportunities for employees to keep their hands clean.
  • All turnstiles and high traffic doorknobs/handrails are being diligently cleaned throughout each shift.
  • Employees may use disinfecting solutions to keep objects and surfaces clean in their work areas. It is important that employees remember to wash their hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds afterwards.
  • For those who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, there are Ride Waiting Areas located throughout the yard designated for sick employees to wait for a ride home.
  • Employees are recommended per CDC guidelines to wear face coverings while at work.

Click here to learn about our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Where can I learn more about BIW’s face covering policy?

Employees are recommended to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines by wearing a cloth face covering while at work. To learn more about this policy, click here.

What hygiene or cleaning supplies are available?

BIW has an ample supply of hand sanitizer to help restrict spread of the virus, installing 130 hand sanitizing stations, including at all gates and MPTs (clock-in terminals), and securing more than 2,000 station refills. Employees may use disinfecting solutions to keep objects and surfaces clean in their work areas. It is important that employees remember to wash their hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds afterwards. If an area is in need of supply replenishment, the craft administrator or supervisor should be contacted. We also have supplies of personal protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, etc. for our medical and EMS teams.

What impact has this had on travel?

Click here to view our complete travel policy.

How will I account for my time if myself or a family member becomes sick or is exposed to the COVID-19 virus and must stay home for 14 days?

BIW Human Resources and Craft Administration will work with impacted employees to determine the available options to account for the time out of work. Call the BIW Coronavirus Hotline at 207-442-5999 and select Option 4.

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread it to others?

Yes, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. That is why CDC recommends that those experiencing symptoms isolate until they are better or no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

For those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, how long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient.

Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone experiencing symptoms from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:

  • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • The patient has improved and is no longer showing symptoms, including cough and it has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
  • Certain patients may need to have tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart (in select cases as not everyone gets tested/re-tested).

Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

Why is it important to self-monitor or be quarantined for 14 days if exposed to COVID-19?

If exposed to COVID-19, one may be asked to quarantine, which means isolating oneself, or to self-monitor symptoms in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease. Quarantine is usually established for the incubation period of the communicable disease, which is the span of time during which people are most likely to develop illness after exposure. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the incubation period.

What if I have been exposed to COVID-19 but am fully vaccinated?

Click here to learn about contact tracing for fully vaccinated personnel.

Am I at risk for COVID-19 in the United States?

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website here.

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips of face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

Using the CDC-developed diagnostic test, a negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person’s sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected. For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness.