In updated Statewide Isolation and Quarantine Guidance issued April 24, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority is no longer allowing for a shortened quarantine period for people who have had a close contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) case, even if the individual tests negative during their quarantine period. Individuals who have had a close contact must quarantine for the full 14 days as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There are only two exceptions. As we previously reported, individuals who are fully vaccinated don’t have to quarantine after a close contact as long as they remain asymptomatic. The other much more unusual exception would require a state or local public health official to make a written determination that the individual’s work is an essential service for which there is a shortage of staff, in addition to a number of other factors, prior to allowing the employee to return to work early.
Tips: The exception for workers who are fully vaccinated provides one more reason to encourage employees to get the vaccine, because it will mean fewer people will miss work as a result of exposure to someone with the virus. As we reported in a separate article today, Oregon employers must allow employees to quarantine without taking adverse action and must provide written notice to employees about their job protection rights starting June 3, 2021. The guidance on quarantine and self-isolation is frequently changing, so make sure you have up-to-date information prior to taking action.