CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance to Add New Symptoms and Guidelines on Release from Isolation
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided updated guidance on several issues of relevance to employees infected with COVID-19 – additional symptoms of COVID-19 and when individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 may stop self-isolating, which would enable them to return to work.
New Symptoms. The CDC updated its webpage on the symptoms of COVID-19 to add six new symptoms to the previously-identified symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The new symptoms are: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and a new loss of taste or smell.
Release from Isolation. In a separate Interim Guidance on Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings, the CDC provides guidance on when those individuals with COVID-19 and were directed to isolate at home may stop self-isolating (and therefore return to work).
- Where follow-up testing is not available or used, employees with symptoms who initially tested positive must be fever-free for at least three days without the use of fever-reducing medicines, there must be an improvement in their respiratory symptoms, and at least 7 days must have passed since the symptoms first appeared.
- Where follow-up testing is being used, employees with symptoms who initially tested positive must be fever-free for at least three days without the use of fever-reducing medicines, there must be an improvement in their respiratory symptoms, and they must have tested negative from at least two consecutive specimens collected 24 or more hours apart.
- Employees without symptoms who tested positive may discontinue isolation when 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test and they remain asymptomatic. The CDC cautions that for three days following release from isolation, these individuals should stay 6 feet away from others and wear a face covering or mask.