March 8, 2021

Volume XI, Number 67


March 05, 2021

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CDC Revises Guidance Applicable to Employees Returning to Work after COVID-19 Case

One of the many difficult questions employers face in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis is when and under what circumstances may employees safely return to work after having contracted COVID-19. Many employers have required employees to provide negative test results from at least two specimens collected more than 24 hours apart. Unfortunately, with the recent spikes in COVID-19 in Florida and many other states, this “test-based strategy” can be challenging as it is more difficult for people to get tested and it is taking longer to process test results.

In response, the CDC recently revised its guidance to emphasize an alternative approach – a “symptom-based strategy” – for discontinuing home isolation for symptomatic persons with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Under this strategy, persons may discontinue isolation and return to work if all three of the following conditions have been met:

  1. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; and

  2. At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and

  3. All COVID-related symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

The CDC previously required people to wait 72 hours since their last fever, and the CDC changed the focus from improvement of just “respiratory symptoms” to improvement of all COVID-related symptoms (due to the ever increasing list of COVID-related symptoms). Hopefully, the emphasis on this approach and the CDC’s revisions to it will allow employees who no longer have symptoms to return to work sooner.  

For more specific information on the CDC’s recommendations for discontinuing home isolation and to monitor the CDC’s guidance for additional updates, click here. Notably, the CDC’s “time-based strategy” remains applicable for persons who are asymptomatic but have tested positive (i.e., at least 10 days have passed since the date of first positive test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms), and the “test-based strategy” is still viable in all situations. Also note that the CDC has more rigorous requirements for discontinuing home isolation and returning employees to work for healthcare settings. 

© 2007-2020 Hill Ward Henderson, All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 202



About this Author

Gordan Hill Employment Litigator Hill Ward Henderson

Gordon is a Shareholder in the firm’s Litigation and Employment Law Groups, and is the firm's Assistant General Counsel for Labor and Employment matters. His practice primarily involves employment litigation and counseling, as well as noncompete litigation and general commercial litigation.

In his employment practice, Gordon advises, represents and defends corporate clients in a broad spectrum of employment-related issues. Gordon has successfully defended clients in a wide variety of employment-related litigation, but...

Robert A. Shimberg Commercial Litigation Attorney Hill Ward Henderson

Robert is a Shareholder in the firm's Litigation Group. His primary practice areas include commercial litigation, corporate compliance, cybersecurity, governmental relations and corporate investigations. He was formerly a prosecutor with the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.

Robert has provided compliance-related services and training to over 300 businesses around the country. He has defended businesses against consumer claims, class action lawsuits, and provided representation in connection with government agency inquiries and investigations and...

Jeff Wilcox Litigation Attorney Hill Ward Henderson Law Firm

Jeff is a Shareholder in the firm’s Litigation Group. His practice primarily focuses on employment law, including wage-hour compliance, FMLA and ADA compliance, allegations of discrimination and harassment, non-compete litigation, and handbook and policy drafting. 

Jeff is active in both professional and Bar-related activities.  He currently serves as a Director on the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division Board, and is a member of the Employment and Labor Law Committee in the Defense Research Institute.  In 2014, Jeff received the Hillsborough County Bar...

Ryan M. Guerin - Associate HWH Law complex commercial litigation labor and employment

Ryan is an associate in the firm’s Litigation group. His practice primarily focuses in the area of labor and employment. Ryan also covers an array of general and complex commercial litigation matters.

Ryan represents employers in litigation involving claims of employment harassment, discrimination, retaliation, leave laws, wage and hour laws, whistleblower laws, enforcement of and defense against non-solicitation and non-competition agreements, background check laws, and other employment-related claims. Ryan represents numerous industries, including clients...

Matthew Hall Insurance Litigator Hill Ward Henderson

Matthew practices in the firm’s Litigation group, primarily focusing in complex commercial litigation, insurance coverage disputes, management-side employment matters and federal court practice. The diversity of Matthew’s practice is reflected in the diversity of the clients he represents: from Fortune 100 companies to large insurance companies to small and up-and-coming businesses to individuals. Matthew has worked to obtain six-figure recoveries on behalf of his clients in breach of contract actions and successfully defended other clients from multi-million dollar...