The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its recommendations regarding when employees can return to work after contracting COVID-19. The CDC continues to update its guidance as scientific knowledge of COVID-19 becomes more clear.
Previously, the CDC outlined two potential strategies for allowing individuals to discontinue quarantine and return to normal activities after contracting COVID-19. One strategy was based on testing (i.e. a series of negative tests over a certain amount of time) and the other was based on adequate time passing since an individual’s symptoms had resolved.
The CDC no longer recommends the test-based strategy. The CDC now advises that individuals can return to work and resume other routine activities if they meet ALL of the following three criteria:
- At least 10 days have passed since the onset of COVID-19 symptoms (or 10 days have passed since their initial positive test date if they never experienced any symptoms).
- They have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.).
- All other symptoms related to COVID-19 continue to improve.
While these guidelines apply to most individuals, those who have more severe to critical illness may remain infectious for as many as 20 days after symptom onset. Additional guidance and more specific information from the CDC can be found here.
David Lehman, Commissioner
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