The CDC changed their guidance recently saying that if someone COVID+ wants to test and can find a test available, if they test positive “toward the end” of their 5 day exclusion, then they should extend their isolation period to a full 10 days from their symptom onset (or from the first positive test date if they were asymptomatic). This means a negative test isn’t required to return to work, but if someone tests positive toward the end, they should stay out until Day 10. We’re defining “towards the end” as Days 3, 4, or 5 after symptom onset or first positive test date if asymptomatic. See our blog post about this for more details on this new update.
No, if the exposure happened before they were boosted, they may already be infected with the virus. This is why it’s incredibly important to get boosted to stay “up to date” on vaccinations, so that future close contacts won’t need to result in exclusion. If someone was already exposed, they need to stay home for at least 5 days, mask for an additional 5, and should get boosted as soon as possible after their quarantine is up to avoid this in the future!
Great question and one to refer to your lawyers. But it might make good sense. We’re seeing the same unvaccinated employees excluded multiple times for both their own symptoms and for repeated close contact with other COVID+ people. It makes staffing difficult now and won’t get any better in the future. At least testing positive exempts an employee from needing close contact exclusions for 90 days from their symptom onset, which isn’t much, but is certainly better than nothing.
No - a positive test is a positive test, period. Both rapids and PCRs have over 99% accuracy for positives, so basically any positive is a true positive. A rapid negative test means less than a PCR negative, but both don’t mean a whole lot - we’re seeing lots of symptomatic people test negative repeatedly before eventually testing positive. Even a negative PCR test might miss that you’re infected with the virus, which is why people with symptoms should stay home even if they test negative.
It’s been a while since we circled back to our old friend, Mike Osterholm. In this episode, Dr. Osterholm discusses Omicron's impact and what our “new normal” of life with COVID should be. He also talks about how Omicron is affecting kids, what the current hospitalization numbers really mean, and answers some testing questions. Definitely worth a listen.