Eden Health District Community Advisory

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By Barbara Adranly

Employees With Covid-19 May Return to Work Without Obtaining a New, Negative Test Result After The Isolation Period Ends


Workplace guidelines for individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been updated and a negative test is no longer required to return to work after the individual has completed a 10-day isolation period and no longer have a fever and their symptoms have improved.  In an effort to provide clarity, the CDC and Alameda County Public Health Department recommend that employers should not require an employee to provide a negative Covid-19 test result if the employee has met the criteria to end home isolation.

What is Recommended

If an employee has tested positive for Covid-19, but not had a severe illness from Covid-19, the employee should stay home and isolate for at least 10 days from when the employee took the Covid-19 test.

  • On the 11th day, if the employee no longer has a fever without taking fever-reducing medication and other symptoms of Covid-19 have improved, the employee may leave isolation and return to work without obtaining a new, negative Covid-19 test result or note from the employee’s healthcare provider.
  • If on the 11th day, the employee still has a fever or her/his symptoms have not improved, the employee should stay in isolation until she/he recovers.

Special circumstances and notes:

1) If an employee had severe illness from Covid-19, defined as being admitted to a hospital and needing oxygen, the employee’s healthcare provider may recommend she/he stay in isolation for possibly up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared.

2) Loss of taste and smell caused by Covid-19 may persist for weeks or months after recovery. If an employee has only these symptoms, the employee may return to work after the isolation period ends.

Why it is Unnecessary For Employees To Get Tested Again After They Recover From Covid-19

The CDC states: “If you have recovered from your symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19, you may continue to test positive for three months or more without being contagious to others. For this reason, you should be tested only if you develop new symptoms of possible COVID-19. Getting tested again should be discussed with your healthcare provider, especially if you have been in close contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.”

What is Isolation?

Isolation is used to separate people infected with Covid-19 from those who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).

CDC:  Isolate if You Are Sick and I Think or Know I had COVID-19, and I had Symptoms. When Can I Be With Others? (video)


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