The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that it is finalizing new recommendations for shortening the 14-day quarantine period currently recommended for persons potentially exposed to COVID-19. While details on the new recommendations have not been announced, comments by various CDC officials indicate that the quarantine period could be reduced to between 7 and 10 days when combined with negative COVID-19 test results. Dr. Henry Walke, the agency’s incident manager for COVID-19 response, told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that the agency was reevaluating its recommendations in light of evolving medical knowledge and COVID-19 data. The CDC currently recommends against using test-based strategies to end quarantine or self-isolation early, primarily because persons with COVID-19 may continue to test positive well after they are no longer infectious, and because of the lengthy incubation period for COVID-19.
This news is significant for employers needing to get employees back to work as soon as possible following potential workplace exposures. We expect the new CDC guidance will be published in the next week or two. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding your return to work policies and protocols, please contact your Baker McKenzie employment lawyer.