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What the Updated CDC Quarantine Recommendations Mean for Employers

Wednesday, Dec 16th, 2020


What the Updated CDC Quarantine Recommendations Mean for Employers

By Julia James Shreve

The CDC recently updated its guidance to provide recommendations for reducing the quarantine period after an individual has had close contact with someone with COVID-19. Close contact includes:

  • Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • Providing care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils
  • Exposure to respiratory droplets, such as through coughing or sneezing

Individuals who have had COVID-19 within the past three months do not need to quarantine again.

While the CDC still endorses 14 days as optimal length for quarantine, the new guidance provides two options to discontinue quarantine earlier:

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

If the quarantine period is reduced, employees should be directed to continue monitoring symptoms for 14 days post-exposure.

Employers may choose to continue to require employees to quarantine for 14 days after an exposure and should continue to follow any state or local requirements.

On December 11, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) released its own guidance that people with expected close contacts to COVID-19 cases can end quarantine after the tenth day for some individuals without testing, provided they have experienced no symptoms during the daily required monitoring period and they follow some the CDC’s additional requirements. The ADPH rejected the CDC’s option of ending quarantine after seven days with testing due to a number of factors including the incidence of community spread infection and the COVID-19 positivity rate in Alabama. However, some of these new CDC-approved options may reduce the burden placed on employees and employers by lengthy periods of quarantine.

The Labor & Employment attorneys at Armbrecht Jackson LLP are here to help with COVID-19 employment questions, and other employment needs as well.


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