Seyfarth Synopsis: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released revised guidance on quarantine time allowing for two quarantine options in addition to the standard 14 day quarantine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released revised guidance on quarantine time for those who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The CDC continues to “recommend” the 14 day quarantine period, but now advises that “acceptable alternatives” to the 14 days are either 7 days for those who have received a negative test, or 10 days for those who have not been tested. The CDC instructs that under either alternative, individuals must: watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure; if any symptoms develop, immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or healthcare provider; wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In adopting the new quarantine time guidance, Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing, the CDC notes that reducing the length of quarantine may increase quarantine compliance by reducing economic hardship and, in addition, the reduction in time may lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.
Irrespective of this revised CDC guidance, employers must still comply with any state or local public health requirements, which may require 14 day quarantine.
Accordingly, employers may now consider reducing quarantine times for employees consistent with these guidelines so long as state or local public health requirements do not require the longer, 14 day, quarantine period.
For more information on this or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.