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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 conducts internal investigations. Robert works extensively with automobile dealerships in Florida and throughout the country on proactive compliance and litigation in areas including sales, F&I, advertising, recalls, warranty audits, TCPA, ADA, accounting and pay plan disputes. He led the effort to modify the Florida LAW RISC to include the Seller’s Right to Cancel language and incorporate the conditional delivery form into the RISC. 

Robert assists clients from a variety of sectors in navigating responses to data breaches and cyber and ransomware attacks, including: initial assessment, response options, liaison with law enforcement, asset recovery, customer notice, interaction with third-party resources, and litigation. Robert understands the time-sensitive nature surrounding data breaches and cyber-attacks and is responsive and available to assist at all hours. Clients represented include those in: financial services, retail, restaurant groups, manufacturing, sales, automobile dealerships, law firms, and individuals. See link to a recent case dismissal and link to a Wall Street Journal article.

He also assists businesses in procurement matters and bid protests and has handled protests for clients against Florida state agencies, counties, cities, school boards and a state judicial circuit.

Robert is a frequent speaker on compliance-related topics to industry groups and associations. He has hosted a number of compliance programs on topics including: “Recalls,” “Conducting Business with Senior Citizen Customers,” “Advertising,” “Employee Theft,” "Addressing Protests and Employee Safety on your Property," and "Cybersecurity Threats & Data Breaches: How to Prepare, Protect and Respond." 

Active in many community concerns, Robert is past chair of the Board of Metropolitan Ministries, the area’s most comprehensive program providing self-sufficiency training to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in the Tampa community. He is a member of the Tampa Police Citizens Review Board and a Board Member and on the Capital Campaign Committee for Meals on Wheels of Tampa. He and his wife mentor local teens and work with and support a number of initiatives on behalf of teens and young adults. 

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...