Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its COVID-19 guidelines. Significantly, the revised guidelines no longer recommend that individuals who have been in close contact with someone ill with COVID-19 quarantine for five (5) days following that close contact, even if the exposed individual has not received COVID-19 vaccinations. The revised guidelines further eliminate the CDC’s previous recommendation that people social distance as a measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and recommend limiting contact tracing to hospitals and other high-risk group-living situations. The CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/if-you-were-exposed.html
The CDC did not change its recommendations for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and/or who have tested positive for COVID-19. With respect to those individuals, the CDC still recommends that they isolate pending receipt of COVID-19 test results, and if positive, remain isolated for five (5) days following symptom onset. Per the CDC, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should end isolation after day five only if their symptoms are improving and they have been fever-free for twenty-four (24) hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication. The CDC further recommends that individuals coming out of isolation wear a mask when around others until ten (10) days have passed since their symptom onset. Perhaps in response to recent media reports regarding “rebound COVID,” the CDC added a recommendation that if symptoms recur or worsen after a COVID-positive individual has ended isolation, that individual should restart isolation and consider the date of worsening/recurrence as “Day 0.”
While the CDC no longer recommends that people who come into close contact with a COVID-positive person quarantine, it still recommends that close contacts wear a mask for ten (10) days after their exposure, watch for COVID-19 symptoms, and stay home and take a COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms.
Employers should take particular note of the CDC’s revised guidelines, as the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has pointed to the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations in agency guidance regarding what measures employers should take to meet their general duty to provide a safe workplace for employees. Further, Act 238 of 2020 (“Act 238”), prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who fail to report to work when those employees are quarantining and/or isolating pursuant to CDC guidelines. Information regarding recent amendments establishing an end date to Act 238 can be found here: https://www.mikameyers.com/covid-19-employment-rights-act-amended-to-provide-end-dates/