There are several reasons that an exclusion may be reduced. Most often, it is because the employee developed symptoms during their quarantine. The quarantine period is 14 days because it can take that up to long to become ill with COVID-19 after they’ve been exposed. If a person becomes sick, then their exclusion is moved to 10 days from their symptom onset.
No. You’ve probably heard us say over and over again that we can’t give legal advice. But this question has come up over and over again, and we’ve spoken with many clients’ corporate counsels. Travel quarantines are enforced by state health departments. There are many reasons that employees may not need to comply with a travel quarantine - reasons that aren’t employment related issues (critical family illness, death in a family, there less than 36 hours, allowed to negative test out in that jurisdiction). Your collective experience is that travel quarantines are not clinical issues or employment issues and that you’ve got enough on your plates related to COVID without enforcing guidelines that you are not required to enforce.
Yes! We’ve seen a major uptick in illness among our clients over the past 3 weeks or so, many of which are related to students being back at school and school-based exclusions. That said, we’re also starting to see more non-COVID illnesses like e.Coli, Strep, and others, which may have a shorter work exclusion time for employees than cut and dry COVID cases. The uptick is likely due to people starting to gather more, indoors, as we head into the fall.
Not necessarily. If they were told that they had direct contact with someone who was COVID+ for 15+ mins within 6ft, and that they should quarantine, then yes, they’ll need to be excluded from work. But sometimes schools exclude a whole cohort when one person tests positive, even if this employee didn’t have direct contact with that person. In those cases, exclusion may not be necessary. Generally, we recommend getting as much detailed information as possible and making a case by case determination. If the employee had direct contact with a COVID+ case, they should be out. If they are under quarantine orders from a public health official, they should be out. If they didn’t have direct contact and haven’t been contacted by a contact tracer from a public health department, they may not need to be excluded.
You often ask us questions about testing accuracy. And the high false negative rate makes people question positives. This is an excellent blog post from a Guardian reporter that addresses why most positives are just that. Explains a lot about testing.
And last, we’re hosting a webinar for our clients on Flu and COVID: What Employers Need to Know. You’re all invited to join us on Wednesday, October 7th at 3pm EST. Feel free to share with anyone on your team that might be interested. Register here!
Have a great weekend