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Return to Work Criteria for HCP with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19

*** A test-based strategy is no longer recommended (except as noted below) because, in the majority of cases, it results in excluding from work HCP who continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA but are no longer infectious.


Symptom-based strategy for determining when HCP can return to work.

HCP with mild to moderate illness who are not severely immunocompromised:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and

  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and

  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

Note: HCP who are not severely immunocompromised and were asymptomatic throughout their infection may return to work when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral diagnostic test.

HCP with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised1:

  • At least 10 days and up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and

  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

  • Consider consultation with infection control experts

Test-Based Strategy for Determining when HCP Can Return to Work.

In some instances, a test-based strategy could be considered to allow HCP to return to work earlier than if the symptom-based strategy were used. However, as described in the Decision Memo, many individuals will have prolonged viral shedding, limiting the utility of this approach. A test-based strategy could also be considered for some HCP (e.g., those who are severely immunocompromised1) in consultation with local infectious diseases experts if concerns exist for the HCP being infectious for more than 20 days.

The criteria for the test-based strategy are:

HCP who are symptomatic:

(CDC guidelines are followed- reference link here)

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