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Update: CDC Updates Return to Work Criteria

August 11, 2020
Healthcare Consulting By Terry Raser, Senior Consultant

On July 17, 2020, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated criteria for health care providers to return to work.

 

Update hand writing with a blue mark on a transparent board

 

CDC has changed to a symptom-based strategy versus a test-based strategy. This update incorporates recent evidence to inform the duration of isolation and precautions recommended to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to others, while limiting unnecessary prolonged isolation and unnecessary use of laboratory testing resources.

Below is a summary of the changes from the CDC website:

  • Except for rare situations, a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to allow health care providers to return to work.
  • For health care providers with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised, the recommended duration for work exclusion was extended to 20 days after symptom onset (or, for asymptomatic severely immunocompromised HCP, 20 days after their initial positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test).

Changes to symptom-based criteria:

  • Changed from “at least 72 hours” to “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms” to address expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Symptom-based strategy for determining when health care providers can return to work per CDC guidance:

  • Health care providers with mild to moderate illness who are not severely immunocompromised can return to work after the following:
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
    • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

Note: Health care providers who are not severely immunocompromised and were asymptomatic throughout their infection may return to work when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral diagnostic test.

  • Health care providers with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised can return to work after the following:
    • At least 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
    • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

Note: Health care providers who are severely immunocompromised but who were asymptomatic throughout their infection may return to work when at least 20 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral diagnostic test.

If you are struggling with meeting all the guidance and regulations or are not sure if your infection control policies and procedures meet CDC and CMS regulations, LW Consulting, Inc. can review your policies and procedures and provide suggestions and guidance for improvement.

 

For more information, call Terry Raser at 484-365-2680 or email at TRaser@lw-consult.com.

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