Criteria for return to work for healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (interim guidance)
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Criteria for return to work for healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (interim guidance)

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    Updated July 17, 2020

    CDC guidance for COVID-19 may be adapted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances.

    Who this is for: Occupational health programs and public health officials making decisions about return to work for healthcare personnel (HCP) with confirmed COVID-19, or who have suspected COVID-19 (e.g., developed symptoms of a respiratory infection [e.g., cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever] but did not get tested for COVID-19).

    Decisions about return to work for HCP with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should be made in the context of local circumstances. Options include a symptom-based (i.e., time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery strategy) or time-based strategy or a test-based strategy. Of note, there have been reports of prolonged detection of RNA without direct correlation to viral culture.

    Summary of Recent Changes as of April 30, 2020

    Changed the name of the ‘non-test-based strategy’ to the ‘symptom-based strategy’ for those with symptoms and the ‘time-based strategy’ for those without symptoms, and updated these to extend the duration of exclusion from work to at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared. This update was made based on evidence suggesting a longer duration of viral shedding and will be revised as additional evidence becomes available.

    Based on this extension of the symptom-based and time-based strategies, language about the test-based strategy being preferred was removed.

    Removed specifying use of nasopharyngeal swab collection for the Test-Based Strategy and linked to the Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), so that the most current specimen collection strategies are recommended.

  • Content Notes:
    Return to Work Criteria for HCP with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 -- Return to Work Practices and Work Restrictions -- Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages.
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