On July 20th, the CDC published updated recommendations for home-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, infection, and exposure. A test-based strategy is no longer recommended. According to the CDC, “Accumulating evidence supports ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy. Specifically, researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began.”
Symptomatic Employees (with or without a positive COVID test)
The employee should stay away from work and self-isolate at home until all of the following are met:
– At least 10 days since the onset of symptoms, and
– At least 24 hours since the resolution of fever without medication, and
– Other symptoms have improved.
COVID-Positive Test Without Symptoms
The employee should stay away from work until at least 10 days have passed since the date of the positive COVID-19 test, if he/she does not develop any symptoms. If symptoms develop, refer to the timelines above.
Direct Exposure to a COVID-19 Patient
If your employee reports having been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, he/she should stay away from work and self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date of exposure to monitor of symptoms. If symptoms develop, refer to the timelines above.
Note that the Fresno County Department of Public Health defines “direct contact” as spending 15 minutes or more time within 6 feet or less while unmasked. The CDC provides the following examples of “close contact”:
– You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.
– You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
– You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them).
– You shared eating or drinking utensils.
– They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
If your employee reports incidental contact that does not meet the definitions above, he/she is not required to self-quarantine, but should strictly adhere to distancing and masking protocols.
Living in the Same Household with a COVID-19 Patient
Many employers are navigating the challenging situation of an employee whose household seems to be passing COVID-19 infection from one person to the next. The CDC addresses this dilemma with the following scenarios:
– If it is possible to avoid close contact with the infected person, the employee should self-isolate for 14 days from when the COVID-positive person began home isolation.
– The 14-day timeline should be restarted if the employee has close contact with the infected person, or if an additional member of the household becomes infected with COVID-19.
– If ongoing close contact cannot be avoided due to the need to provide care, or because of close quarters in the home, the self-isolation should last for 14 days after the COVID-positive person has been cleared to end home isolation.
We understand how complicated and confusing these decisions can be, and you’re not in this alone! Contact one of our certified Consultants to discuss the specific scenarios being reported by your employees. Give us a call at: 559.431.8090