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Workplace Law Lowdown | MDHHS Updates Quarantine Guidelines: What Does This Mean for Employers?

By: Alexander J. Burridge, Associate, Workplace Law Practice Group


On December 2, 2020, the CDC updated its recommendations regarding the self-quarantine period for individuals who come in close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. While the CDC did not change its standard 14-day self-quarantine recommendation, it added new options for local public health authorities to consider.

Considering the CDC guidance, on December 4, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) updated its guidance on COVID-19 quarantine periods. The MDHHS guidance provides that the standard 14-day quarantine period may be reduced to 10-days if the following two conditions exist:

  1. The individual does not develop any symptoms or clinical evidence of COVID-19 infection during daily symptom monitoring for the 10-days after the last exposure; and
  2. Daily symptom monitoring continues through day 14 after the last exposure.

The MDHHS did not adopt the CDC’s additional alternative to allow individuals to end quarantine after 7-days when he or she receives a negative specimen test and has no symptoms reported during daily monitoring.

Employers wondering if they can relax their return to work requirements for employees who had close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19, should be aware that a Michigan statute (MCL § 419.405) specifically states that employees who have close contact with an individual who is diagnosed with or has symptoms of COVID-19 may not return to work until either:

  • 14 days have passed since the employee last had close contact with the individual; or
  • The individual with whom the employee had close contact receives a medical determination that he or she did not have COVID-19 at the time of the close contact with the employee.

Until the legislature amends MCL § 419.405 to resolve the inconsistency with the MDHHS guidance, employers should continue to adhere to the statutory quarantine period.

Employers may contact any member of Bodman’s Workplace Law Group with questions regarding COVID-19 workplace compliance issues. 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.

Click here to view this update in PDF format.

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