Capell & Howard P.C. Attorneys At Law Montgomery & Auburn/Opelika, AL

Return to Work Criteria for Health Care Professionals – COVID19

March 31, 2020

Return to Work Criteria for Health Care Professionals – COVID19

by: Mai Lan Isler & Barbara Wells

The CDC has provided the following return to work criteria for Health Care Professionals (HCP) with previously confirmed or suspected COVID-19 disease. Obviously, employers in the health care sector are concerned both about protecting health of patients, employees, and the public, but staffing is also a problem. The CDC guidance addresses to possible strategies for allowing return to work:

Test-based strategy- 

Exclude from work until:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for COVID-19 from at least two consecutive nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens).

Non-test-based strategy

Exclude from work until

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

Note: If HCP were never tested for COVID-19 but have an alternate diagnosis (e.g., tested positive for influenza), criteria for return to work should be based on that diagnosis.

No word yet on CDC guidance for return to work for employees other than HCP.

This summary is based upon what we know as of this writing. No assurance of the completeness, comprehensiveness, correctness, or currency of the information is provided. The materials and information presented are not, are not intended to be, and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice. Receipt of the information alone does not create an attorney-client relationship. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult with a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation.

If you have questions about what to do with your business or company during the COVID-19 pandemic, call Capell & Howard at 334-241-8000 and ask for one of our employment lawyers: Christopher Weller, Barbara Wells, Brooke Lawson, Carla Gilmore, Mai Lan Isler, Faith Twiggs, or Blake Brookshire. You can also find contact information for these attorneys on our website.

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