CDC Streamlines COVID-19 Guidance
The CDC announced new guidance for individuals exposed to or testing positive for COVID-19. It is important for employers to understand the modifications to the CDC guidance when addressing employees regarding isolation and masking. The CDC stated that it is “streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive in light of the tools that we now have for reducing the severity of COVID-19, such as vaccines and other treatments.”
The CDC recommends that individuals be up to date with vaccinations. The CDC further recommends that those who are exposed to COVID-19, wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5. Regardless of vaccination status, people should isolate from others when they have COVID-19.
If an individual is sick and suspects that he/she has COVID-19, but does not yet have test results, that person should isolate. If negative, isolation is not recommended. If an individual tests positive, he/she should stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in their home. Because people are most infectious during these first 5 days, the CDC recommends wearing a high-quality mask when it is necessary to be around others at home and in public. Isolation can end after 5 days if the individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and symptoms are improving. Also, if an individual never had symptoms, isolation may end after day 5. However, when isolation is ended, those individuals should avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11 and wear a high quality mask through day 10.
In cases of moderate illness (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing) or severe illness (hospitalization) due to COVID-19, or if an individual has a weakened immune system, isolation is recommended through day 10. Those with severe illness or a weakened immune system should consult with a doctor before ending isolation. The CDC also clarified that if isolation is ended but COVID-19 symptoms worsen, isolation should be restarted at day 0. The CDC further clarified that screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures is no longer recommended in most community settings.
Employers should review the clarified guidance and consider if they need to adjust their policies regarding COVID-19. Please Contact any member of Bodman’s Workplace Law Group for more information. Bodman cannot respond to your questions or receive information from you without first clearing potential conflicts with other clients. Thank you for your patience and understanding.