Important 'Return to Work' Information for Employers
as of February 11, 2022
On December 28, 2021, 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. The new guidance shortens the quarantine period for exposed people from 10 days to 5 days with masking for 5 additional days. Anyone currently in a 10-day quarantine may reduce to 5 days and then mask for 5 days. Quarantine is not required for those who are up to date with their vaccinations. Individuals who are up to date with their vaccinations should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days following exposure to COVID-19.
Residents can be released from quarantine after 5-days if:
They conduct daily symptom monitoring through day 10 after the last exposure, wear a mask for days 6- 10, 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 5-day quarantine period does not apply to those residing in congregate living settings or who work with individuals in high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers. Those in healthcare should follow the CDC's interim guidance for healthcare workers found here.
Notes on Quarantine Period Requirements
If an employee is in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, has not tested positive for COVID-19, and does not have symptoms, that employee must quarantine for 5 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. After day 5 the employee may return to work if they wear a mask and monitor for symptoms for an additional 5 days.
Individuals are recommended to test 5-7 days after COVID-19 exposure.
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 5 days once the positive individual has been released from isolation.
The household member in isolation can be released once they meet the following three criteria: symptoms have improved, no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications, and at least 5 days have passed since symptom onset.
COVID-19 positive individuals should be isolated inside the home apart from others with their own room and bathroom. If the employee started quarantine the day their household's symptoms began, the employee's entire quarantine period would then last 10 days, and then the employee can return while masked for an additional 5 days.
The CDC offers guidance for two groups of people. Those who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination and those who are not.
The CDC defines “Up to date” with COVID-19 vaccination as: “a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.”
A person is eligible for their booster 5 months after receiving their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna and 2 months after receiving their single dose of Johnson & Johnson. Vaccine recommendations can be found here.
Per the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated when “a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.” This however may not exempt them from quarantine if they are greater than 5 months since their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or greater than 2 months from their Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
Vaccine booster recommendations from the CDC can be found here.
Individuals who are up to date with their vaccines do not need to quarantine if in contact with someone infected with COVID- 19 but should wear a well-fitting mask and monitor for symptoms for 10 days following 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.
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 Kent County Back to Work.
- Contact Tracing In the Workplace
- OSHA FAQs
- FDA Testing Information
- Requesting PPE - Is This Only for Healthcare Personnel?
- MIOSHA Testing Requirements and Testing Supplies