Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Jul 23, 2020

CDC updates COVID-19 symptoms and return to work guidance

COVID-19Safety and Health 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to make significant changes in its recommendations regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) as new information becomes available. The list of possible COVID-19 symptoms has been updated to include congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. We previously reported on the agency’s expanded list of symptoms in April, but the list was revised again this month. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. The CDC continues to recommend quarantine for 14 days for those exposed to COVID-19, in order to be sure they don’t develop symptoms.

On July 20, 2020, the CDC also updated its guidance on when individuals can discontinue home isolation and return to work after being sick with COVID-19, or after testing positive for COVID-19 without ever developing symptoms. Those with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can discontinue isolation after 10 days from the start of their symptoms if they’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours and their other symptoms have improved. (People with severe illness may need to isolate longer, as determined by their health care provider.) Individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 but never developed symptoms may discontinue isolation 10 days after their positive test. A follow-up COVID-19 test to determine that the person is negative for the virus is no longer recommended, unless it’s used to determine if a shorter isolation period is appropriate.

Tips: Update your exposure control plan, employee health screening procedures, and employee communications to reflect these latest changes. Employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have any symptoms of the virus should be directed to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can allow employees to return to work based on current CDC guidance or when released by their health care provider.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.