Important 'Return to Work' Information for Employers
as of April 30, 2021
The Kent County Health Department changed its quarantine guidelines for people exposed to coronavirus to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols. Effective April 30, 2021. The new guidance shortens the quarantine period for exposed people from 14 days to 10 days under certain scenarios. Anyone currently in a 14-day quarantine period can reduce it to 10 days effective April 30, 2021.
Residents can be released from quarantine after 10-days, without testing, if:
- They conduct daily symptom monitoring through day 10 after the last exposure, and
- They do not have any symptoms or clinical evidence of COVID-19.
If a potentially exposed individual develops symptoms during the 10-days, they should seek testing and self-isolate while awaiting results. Additionally, potentially exposed individuals should adhere to mitigation strategies after exiting self-quarantine such as mask use, social distancing, hygiene practices, etc.
A 10-day quarantine period does not apply to those residing in congregate living settings or who work with individuals in high-risk groups.
Notes on Quarantine Period Requirements
If an employee is in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, and has not tested positive for COVID-19 and does not have symptoms, that employee must quarantine for 10 days from the last date of contact with the infected person. Quarantine means the employee should stay home, stay away from others as much as possible and monitor their symptoms.
Individuals cannot test out of quarantine because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to incubate after contact with someone who is infected. If after the 10-day quarantine the employee has not tested positive and has not had any symptoms associated with COVID-19, they may end quarantine and return to work. However, they must still monitor their symptoms for the full 14 days after last date of contact with the infected person.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Kent County Health Department do NOT recommend the CDC’s option to reduce quarantine to be released “After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)”. On April 5, 2021 MDHHS & KCHD removed the previously adopted option to reduce quarantine to 10 days for non-variant cases.
MIOSHA recognizes the CDC’s guidance for critical infrastructure workers continuing to work during their quarantine period in limited circumstances. However, even if an individual keeps working under the added precautions, he or she must still quarantine outside of work for the full 10-day period.
Household Members in Quarantine
If an employee’s household member has tested positive for COVID-19, the health department recommends their quarantine period be extended for 10 days once the positive individual has been released from isolation. If the employee started quarantine the day their household’s symptoms began, the employee’s entire quarantine period would then last 20 days.
Vaccinated IndividualsPeople are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine if in contact with someone infected with COVID- 19. However, they should watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should be tested for COVID-19. In addition, vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, staying at least 6 feet from non-household members, and avoiding crowds.
Note on COVID-19 Variants
Close contacts of individuals confirmed or suspected to be positive for a variant of COVID-19, such as the B.1.1.7. strain that originated in the UK, must strictly quarantine for the full 14- day period after last contact with the positive individual. If they live with this person, that 14-day quarantine does not start until the positive individual is released from isolation.
Release from Isolation
Isolation requirements for individuals with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test have not changed.
The health department is limited by what an individual self-reports over the phone when calculating an isolation period with a symptom onset date. We cannot address an employer’s concerns about the employee’s self-reported symptom onset day nor assess whether an employee has indeed met the release from isolation criteria.
If there are doubts about symptom onset day, the employer may consider a 10-day isolation period starting on the test date. If there are concerns whether an employee is still too sick to return to work after 10 days, an employee should consult their primary care provider.
For All Employers
Additionally, we strongly encourage all employers to implement and continue universal screening of all employees at the start of every on-site shift. For more information on a simple and effective screening program, visit https://kentcountybacktowork.com/health- screening-tool/.