June 26, 2022

Volume XII, Number 177

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CDC Shortens Recommended COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Periods

On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an update to its isolation and quarantine guidance. Although the CDC’s update shortens both the isolation and quarantine periods, as described more fully below, the changes largely affect only asymptomatic individuals. Moreover, because local guidance may differ from the CDC’s recommendations, employers should keep in mind all applicable state and local requirements when deciding whether to amend their own rules.

Isolation

An individual should isolate when they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of the virus. The CDC now recommends that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 remain home for 5 days, regardless of vaccination status. If the individual is asymptomatic, or symptoms are resolving after those 5 days, the individual may leave isolation.  The individual, however, should continue to wear a mask when around others for 5 additional days.

Quarantine

An individual should quarantine when they have been in “close contact” with someone who has COVID-19, which means being within 6 feet of that individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The CDC’s revised quarantine recommendations largely depend on an individual’s vaccination status.

Specifically:

  • The following individuals do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic; rather, they should wear a mask around others for 10 days and test on day 5, if possible:

    • Those who have received a COVID-19 booster;

    • Those who have received their Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations within the last 6 months; and

    • Those who have received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine within the last 2 months.

  • The following individuals should (i) stay home for 5 days, after which they should continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days; or (ii) if the individual cannot quarantine, they should wear a mask for a full 10 days. Either way, they should test on day 5 if possible.

    • Those who are unvaccinated;

    • Those who have completed their Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series more than 6 months ago and are not boosted; and

    • Those who have completed their J&J vaccine more than 2 months ago and are not boosted.

The CDC recommends that anyone who develops symptoms get tested and stay at home. The CDC, however, does not require an individual to produce a negative test in order to end isolation or quarantine.

What the Changes Mean

Many states are beginning to revise their recommendations in light of the CDC’s changes, but employers should continue to monitor their local jurisdictions’ guidelines as well when deciding whether and when to change rules regarding quarantine periods. Further, The CDC’s new recommendations may be a signal that the agency is planning to modify the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include COVID-19 booster injections, since its present guidance turns on individuals’ booster status.

©2022 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 364
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About this Author

Susan Gross Sholinsky, Labor Employment Attorney, Epstein Becker Green Law Firm
Member of the Firm

SUSAN GROSS SHOLINSKY is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She counsels clients on a variety of matters, in a practical and straightforward manner, with an eye toward reducing the possibility of employment-related claims. In 2013, Ms. Sholinsky was named to theNew York Metro Rising Stars list in the area of Employment & Labor.

212-351-4789
Steven M. Swirsky labor employment lawyer health care and life sciences attorney
Member of the Firm

STEVEN M. SWIRSKY is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, in the firm's New York office. He regularly represents employers in a wide range of industries, including retail, health care, manufacturing, banking and financial services, manufacturing, transportation and distribution, electronics and publishing. He frequently advises and represents United States subsidiaries and branches of Asian, European and other foreign-based companies.

Mr. Swirsky:

  • Advises employers on a full range of labor and...
212-351-4640
Robert J. O’Hara Labor and employment lawyer Epstein Becker
Member of the Firm

ROBERT J. O’HARA* is a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on employment law counseling and litigation as well as human resources counseling, compliance, and training.

Mr. O’Hara’s experience includes:

  • Conducting and overseeing workplace investigations (including sexual harassment, bribery, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, product quality, supply chain theft, and malfeasance of every kind), executive terminations, and...
212-351-3708
Law Clerk - Admission Pending

Kamil Gajda is a Law Clerk – Admission Pending – in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

212-351-4524
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