District Health Department No. 10 issues new guidelines for employers

No longer issuing clearance from quarantine

LAKE, MECOSTA COUNTIES — Due to overwhelming caseloads, the health department will no longer provide documentation clearing individuals from COVID-19 related quarantine and isolation. Employers can determine when employees are safely able to return to work by using the following guidance:

Quarantine can be ended

• 14 days after the last contact with a person who is contagious with COVID-19.

• For explanations of several scenarios with illustrations of how to calculate the days, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.

Isolation can be ended

• If symptoms were present and they think or know they had COVID-19: they can return to normal activities when it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation)

• If they tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms: they can return to normal activities when it has been 10 days since the date the positive test was performed

• If symptoms develop after test date, then follow the guidance above for “If symptoms were present…”

• 20 days from onset of symptoms are recommended for those that were sick enough to be in the ICU or intubated, or are severely immunocompromised (which is anyone on chemotherapy, within one year of a stem cell transplant or organ transplant, have untreated HIV, are taking 20mg or more of prednisone for 14 days or longer). Anyone in this category should consult with their healthcare provider.

• Employers should not require a negative COVID-19 test to discontinue isolation. The PCR test for COVID-19 can be falsely positive for 12 or more weeks after illness.

People aren’t generally able to infect others past 10 days from when their symptoms started.

Quarantine means keeping someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. Isolation means keeping someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.

Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: If my employee was exposed to COVID-19 but has a positive antibody test, do they still need to quarantine?

A: Yes. We still do not know how much protection the antibodies might provide or how long this protection might last. Also, there is a chance the positive result is due to antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold. In other words, it could be a false positive for COVID-19.

Q: If my employee was exposed to COVID-19 and tests negative by PCR or antigen testing, can they get out of quarantine early?

A: No. It can take up to 14 days after exposure to the virus for a person to develop COVID-19 symptoms. A negative result before end of the 14-day quarantine period does not rule out possible infection. They may test negative if the sample was collected early in the infection and test positive later during the illness

Q: My employee is a critical/essential worker. They don’t have to quarantine, right?

A: Michigan Public Act No. 238, effective October 22, 2020, requires all employees to isolate and quarantine per the guidance above. The only groups that are not mandated to quarantine in Michigan are: health care professionals; workers at a health care facility; first responders; child protective service employees; worker at a child caring institution; workers at an adult foster care facility, and; workers at a correctional facility.

Q: My employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 before and just got exposed to someone with COVID-19. Do they have to quarantine?

A: People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 should follow up with their health care provider to decide if they need to be tested.

Contact the DHD No.10 COVID hotline at 231-305-8675 or email us at covid@dhd10.org with any questions.