• COVID-19

CDC Criteria for Health Care Workers Returning to Work Following Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

Updated: Mar 27

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance today similar to guidance from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on health care workers (HCWs) with suspected or confirmed COVID-19


CDC’s guidance addresses strategies based on whether an HCW is confirmed to be COVID-19-positive based on testing or symptoms only.


If an HCW has been confirmed to have COVID-19 based on testing, they should be excluded from work until:

  • Their fever resolves without the use of fever-reducing medications;

  • There is improvement of respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and

  • They have 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.

If the HCW has not been tested, but has symptoms of COVID-19-like illness, they should be excluded from work until:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and they have improvement in respiratory symptoms; and

  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Once an HCW returns to work, they should:

  • Wear a facemask at all times at work until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer

  • Be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients until 14 days after illness onset

  • Adhere to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette

  • Self-monitor for symptoms, and seek re-evaluation from occupational health if respiratory symptoms recur or worsen

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