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If I have employees who are being tested or have confirmed COVID-19, when can they return to work?

Refer to Curi’s Updated COVID-19 Process flowchart for Employee exposure or Infection.

The following are the CDC criteria for determining when COVID Infected Health Care Providers (HCP) can return to work. After returning to work, HCPs should self-monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation from occupational health if symptoms recur or worsen.

HCP with mild to moderate illness who are not  moderately to severely immunocompromised:

  • At least 7 days if a negative antigen or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) is obtained within 48 hours prior to returning to work (or 10 days if testing is not performed or if a positive test at day 5-7) have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

HCP who were asymptomatic throughout their infection and are not moderately to severely immunocompromised:

  • At least 7 days if a negative antigen or NAAT is obtained within 48 hours prior to returning to work (or 10 days if testing is not performed or a positive test at day 5-7) have passed since the date of their first positive viral test.

HCP with severe to critical illness and are not moderately to severely immunocompromised:

  • In general, when 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
  • The test-based strategy as described for moderately to severely immunocompromised HCP below can be used to inform the duration of isolation.

HCP who are moderately to severely immunocompromised may produce replication-competent virus beyond 20 days after symptom onset or, for those who were asymptomatic throughout their infection, the date of their first positive viral test.

  • Use of a test-based strategy and consultation with an infectious disease specialist or other expert and an occupational health specialist is recommended to determine when these HCP may return to work.

 

The criteria for the test-based strategy are:

HCP who are symptomatic:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
  • Improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
  • Results are negative from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens) tested using an antigen test or NAAT.

HCP who are not symptomatic:

  • Results are negative from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens) tested using an antigen test or NAAT.

 

Covid 19
All Curi recommendations are based on current CDC criteria at the time of publication. CDC guidance for SARS-CoV-2 infection may, or may not, be adopted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances. Providers should always check with their local health department to see if the CDC’s guidance on any given topic has been modified (particularly if more restrictive) from the CDC’s recommended guidelines. Follow this link https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html for contact information to your state/local health department. If local recommendations vary from those of the CDC, and you are unsure what recommendations to follow, then it is safer to follow the more restrictive guidelines/recommendations.