Yes, if the school excluded the employee for close contact with a confirmed COVID+ person, then we would recommend excluding from work as well. Even when there’s unclear information, we generally think it’s best to honor a school’s quarantine. Nobody wants to hear that the cashier checking them out can’t be at school due to exposure....
If someone tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days and is now recovered, the CDC does not recommend excluding them even if they are exposed to someone COVID positive again. This is because your body develops a certain level of protection against the virus when you’ve recovered from it, and reinfection is rare in those 90 days after you are first infected. So, even if you’re exposed and others in your house have COVID, if you’re still in the 90 day window you’re not likely to be sick or be able to spread infection to others. You should still handwash regularly and wear a mask, though.
The CDC clearly states that you’re no longer infectious after 10 days from onset or positive test (even though they may test positive for a longer time than that). If the employee feels well enough to work and doesn’t have any fever, respiratory, or GI symptoms, then they are clear to work because their viral load is small enough that they will not infect others.
Communication is key. Make sure that your team knows that you are consistent and conservative in following return to work recommendations of the CDC, local health department and your clinical advisors (us).
Our recommendation is still to be cautious before recommending or requiring as an employer that someone gets tested. It can be complicated, and should probably be run by your legal counsel. Generally, we tell individual employees who ask our clinical team if they need to be tested that testing is an individual decision, and to consult their doctor and CDC guidelines. CDC does recommend that people with COVID symptoms get tested. It's important to note that a negative test usually doesn’t allow someone to return to work sooner, because there is still a high false negative rate for COVID-19 tests.
Not really, unless jurisdictions take drastic measures to curb the spread, like city or state-wide shelter-in-place orders. We know that Thanksgiving is coming up and that people will still travel and/or combine households during that time, which we expect will lead to another spike in case counts. We are seeing more cities and states enact the kind of measures that will stop the spread, like NY’s 10pm bar and restaurant curfew, Ohio’s mask mandate, San Francisco’s ban on indoor dining, and others. But the responses are piecemeal, and holiday travel means that people will bring the virus to and from hotspots.
We've mentioned Mike Osterholm a lot today, and for good reason. We're listening to his takes on vaccination and what it will look like moving forward this week, plus more info on mutated virus in minks and our overwhelmed healthcare systems.
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!