January 21, 2021

Volume XI, Number 21

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January 19, 2021

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Updated CDC Guidance on Quarantine Length for Exposed Individuals Who Are Asymptomatic

On December 2nd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on the length of quarantine required for an individual who is asymptomatic but was in close contact with someone with COVID-19. The prior guidance required quarantine for 14 days (other than for critical infrastructure workers). The new guidance allows for quarantine to end 10 days after exposure or 7 days after exposure when combined with a negative test. The test can be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period, i.e. as early as day 5. The key factor is that the individual remains asymptomatic during the entire quarantine period.

This updated guidance is outlined in the chart below which addresses return to work scenarios under the current CDC guidance.

SITUATION

CDC GUIDANCE ON RETURN TO WORK

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Positive test and symptoms

Symptom Based:

  • At least 10 days from the onset of symptoms

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications

  • Improvement in other symptoms

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html

No change

No test or negative test and symptoms

Symptom Based:

  • At least 10 days from the onset of symptoms

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications

  • Improvement in other symptoms

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html

No change

Positive test without symptoms

Time Based: 10 days since positive test

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html

No change

Exposed with symptoms

Symptom Based:

  • At least 10 days from the onset of symptoms

  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications

  • Improvement in other symptoms

Test Based: If recommended by healthcare provider, 2 negative tests in a row taken at least 24 hours apart.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html

No change

Exposed without symptoms

If in “close contact” with someone who has tested positive (defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over a 24 period starting from 2 days before illness onset or positive test), 10 days after exposure or 7 days after exposure if negative test is obtained (test can be taken within 48 hours of planned end of quarantine).

But no isolation needed if prior positive diagnosis within last 3 months and no ongoing symptoms.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/appendix.html#contact

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html

Can continue to work as long as they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are taken (e.g., mask for 14 days and social distancing)

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/critical-workers/implementing-safety-practices.html

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© 2020 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 337
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About this Author

Christopher S. Mann Labor and Employment Lawyer Jones Walker Law Firm
Partner

Chris Mann is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group. He focuses on defending employers in litigation.

Chris primarily represents and advises clients in employment-related disputes, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and state law counterparts.

Chris also concentrates on defending workers' compensation and related retaliation claims, as well as on advising clients on the handling of such matters. In addition, he routinely consults and advises management and...

504-582-8332
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