Employees with COVID-19 should, of course, not be at work. However, there are still many ambiguous, unclear scenarios that employers and employees often ask about. What do you do if there are no symptoms? What if an employee is exposed to COVID-19? Here is a summary of CDC’s 2022 quarantine/ isolation guidance which addresses these emerging scenarios and questions. 

When Should Employees Go Home or Stay Home?

Employees should go home or stay home when:

  1. arriving at work with COVID-19 symptoms

  2. testing positive for COVID-19 

  3. developing COVID-19 symptoms at work or outside work

Exposure to COVID-19

Questions often arise when it comes to the issue of exposure. A person is exposed when they were in close-contact (within 6 feet) of someone infected with COVID-19 (i.e. even if they displayed no symptoms) for at least 15 minutes.

 Send employees home if

  1. they were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and they are either unvaccinated or not up to date with their doses

  2. they were in the same general vicinity as someone infected with COVID-19 and developed symptoms.

Use the CDC COVID-19 Symptom Tool

If you are trying to assess COVID-19 symptoms and still feel confused, use the CDC online symptom checker. - Coronavirus Self-Checker | CDC

Follow CDC’s Quarantine/ Isolation Guidelines

Educate yourself and your employees on CDC’s latest quarantine and isolation guidelines. Starting in 2022, this is now based on monitoring symptoms for 5 days. 

Employees must meet CDC’s symptom-based criteria for returning back to work. Employers should not require a negative test or a healthcare provider’s note in order for them to return. 

Since 2020 when the pandemic started, COVID-19 situations have become more complicated due to the rise of variants as well as new data and findings. This, of course, has changed vaccine requirements to focus on being up to date on doses. A new focus also includes reducing hospitalizations and deaths through immediate testing and treatment. Employers should constantly stay educated about new pandemic trends and developments to keep themselves and their workforce safe.