DOH updates return to work policy for health care workers with COVID


FILE – Emergency room nurse Brian Stephen leans against a stoop as he takes a break from his work at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, Sunday, April 5, 2020, in New York. The worldwide surge in coronavirus cases driven by the new omicron variant is the latest blow to already strained hospitals, nursing homes, police departments and supermarkets struggling to maintain a full contingent of nurses, police officers and other essential workers as the pandemic enters its third year. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)-Last Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for the quarantine of health care workers. They said the new guidance was to help get health care workers back to work sooner to prevent shortages during COVID surges.

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) came out with its own guidance on Friday that largely follows guidance released from the CDC. It cuts the time a fully vaccinated health care worker should quarantine from 10 to five days if they meet the following requirements:

  • Be fever free for at least 72 hours without medication
  • Have no more symptoms or improvement of symptoms
  • Be without a runny nose
  • Have a minimal, non-productive cough (not disruptive or producing phlegm)

DOH said health care workers returning to work after having COVID do not have to get a test to go back to work. However, they said returning workers should socially distance themselves from other coworkers when possible. They also said returning workers should separate themselves when eating or drinking.

“A reduction of isolation from 10 days to 5 days is sensible guidance and in alignment with the recent CDC guidance for health workers,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “We are not advising people who are sick to return to work. This guidance allows vaccinated people in the critical workforce who test positive and have no symptoms or are mildly symptomatic to return to work.” 

Read more about the DOH’s guidance in its release below:

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