The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidance for how long a person should self-isolate or quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19. While employers might think they can take this as permission to ask employees to come back to work sooner, there are some caveats.
First, the CDC still recommends a quarantine period of 14 days from the most recent day of a known exposure. However, based on local circumstances and resources, they have offered some alternatives. Below are the new guidelines.
After an exposure to COVID-19:
- Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
- When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available quarantine can end after Day 7 if a person tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The exposed person shoud be tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.
In both cases, additional criteria (e.g., continued symptom monitoring and masking through Day 14) must be met.
Finally, it is important to know that state, county, and municipal health regulations may be different, and may continue to require a 14 day quarantine. The following are state resources that may help: