In a move that will provide needed clarity for employers, on December 2, 2020 the CDC issued revised guidance regarding the fourteen-day self-isolation/quarantine requirement for individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19.
Prior to this guidance, the CDC and Va. Dept. of Health’s fourteen day self-isolation/quarantine requirement for employees who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 caused confusion when assessed in connection with the Virginia Temporary Emergency Standards’ return to work strategies for infected or “suspected to be infected” employees (e.g. test-based and symptom-based strategies), because quarantined/self-isolated employees are not addressed in the regulations. The new guidance issued today, however, provides much needed clarity for helping resolve these issues.
According to the CDC’s revised guidance:
The 14-day quarantine/self-isolation recommendation remains in effect, but the revised guidance offers two ways to shorten that period:
- If a community has adequate testing resources, the quarantine can end after just seven days if the individual tests negative for the virus, so long as the sample for the test was taken during the final two days of the seven-day period (day 6 or day 7). The test can be either a rapid-response antigen test, or the more reliable PCR test (however, PCR tests generally take longer to process).
- The quarantine can end after 10 days without a test if the individual monitors for any potential symptoms, such as fever, on a daily basis and has none. The exposed person is expected to continue monitoring symptoms and wearing a mask for the full 14 days despite discontinuing quarantine.
While the COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the CDC’s revised guidance provides much needed relief to employers who have been caught between trying to comply with unclear guidance and trying to keep their businesses running. In light of this guidance, employers may want to revise their Infectious Disease Preparedness Response Plans or issue new policies regarding return to work for quarantined employees. As always, if you have any questions about these issues, please do not hesitate to contact CowanPerry PC:
Jim Cowan firstname.lastname@example.org 540.443.2860
Eric Chapman email@example.com 540.443.2861