On July 20, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update to its guidance on the criteria for determining when a worker diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to work. The guidance is titled “Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings” and makes significant changes in comparison to its previous version.
The changes are as follows:
- A test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation except in certain circumstances.
- Symptom-based criteria were modified as follows: (1) Change from “at least 72 hours” to “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; (2) changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms” to address expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.
- For patients with severe illness, duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset may be warranted. Consider consultation with infection control experts.
- For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date for their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
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