COVID-19, Flu, RSV

CDC Guidance Following COVID-19 Diagnosis or Exposure

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for discontinuing home isolation following COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as recommended protocols for essential workers exposed to the virus.

Discontinuing Isolation Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

The decision to discontinue isolation should stem from local circumstances. Determination for discontinuation will be based on time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery — a non-test-based strategy. The other option is to utilize a test-based strategy.

Using A Non-Test-Based Strategy

Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms that are caring for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery. Recovery is defined as a resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and;
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) and;
  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Using A Test-Based Strategy

A test-based strategy is contingent on the availability of ample testing supplies and laboratory capacity, as well as convenient access to testing. The recommended protocol has been simplified so that only one swab is needed at every sampling.

Individuals who have COVID-19 and symptoms who are caring for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and;
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) and;
  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for COVID-19 from at least two consecutive nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected 24 hours apart — total of two negative specimens.

Essential Workers Who Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

If exposed to an individual with COVID-19, the CDC has advised that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work only if they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented. 

Employers of critical infrastructure workers who have been exposed, but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices before, during, and after work:

  • Prescreen Measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work and entering the facility.
  • Practice regular monitoring As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should be advised to self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
  • Wear a mask Require the employee to wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
  • Social distance Ensure that the employee maintains 6 feet of distance from others and practices social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
  • Disinfect and clean workspaces Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas and shared electronic equipment routinely.
  • If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately.

To help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, employers will want to implement the recommendations, if they haven’t done so already, as defined in the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019.

For more information, click here. We encourage you to visit the CDC’s website for additional guidance.