DOH Issues Revised Guidance on Return to Work After COVID-19 Exposure or Infection
The Department of Health (DOH) issued revised guidelines on July 3rd regarding returning to work after a COVID-19 exposure or infection. The Health Advisory is directed to “all healthcare settings, except nursing homes” and explicitly includes adult care facilities (ACFs) and home care providers. This advisory supersedes DOH guidance entitled “Updated Protocols for Personnel in Healthcare and Other Direct Care Settings to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection” dated April 1, 2020.
The directive provides conditions under which personnel can return to work who:
- have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19;
- have traveled internationally in the past 14 days;
- have traveled in the past 14 days to a state with a significant degree of community spread of COVID-19; or
- are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.
The new guidance carries forward much of the same language for health care personnel (HCP) exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. It also references the new out-of-state travel guidance and requires HCP with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 to maintain isolation 10 days after illness onset, rather than the prior seven-day requirement. Also of note is the condition for return to work for all but the last circumstance that furloughing the staff person "would result in staff shortages that would adversely impact the operation of the healthcare entity and all other staffing options have been exhausted."
Members are encouraged to review the directive carefully.