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New CDC Return-to-Work Guidance Differs from DOH Guidance

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) modified its return-to-work guidance in recognition of research showing that there is prolonged shedding of the virus by people who are no longer infectious. Given the prospect of repeat positive tests among people who are not infectious, it recommends a symptom-based return-to-work strategy rather than a test-based strategy. Notably, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) has not modified its return-to-work guidance, which, for nursing home and adult care facility (ACF) staff, combines both a 14-day quarantine and a negative test to return to work. Since DOH is charged with regulatory oversight of long-term care providers, whereas the CDC principally issues recommendations, long-term care providers should continue to follow DOH guidance.

LeadingAge NY members may nevertheless consider referring to the CDC guidance in refining their return-to-work policies. Providers could elect, for example, to follow CDC recommendations where they are more stringent than DOH directives or where they address issues or service lines that are not covered by DOH guidance. For example, the CDC's symptom-based strategy recommends a 20-day work exclusion period for health care personnel who had severe to critical COVID-19 or who are severely immunocompromised, which is more restrictive than DOH guidance.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8838