CDC Further Relaxes COVID-19 Isolation and Mask Guidance: What Employers Need to Know
August 26, 2022
On August 11, 2022, the CDC issued new guidance regarding isolation and masking for individuals exposed to COVID-19. According to the CDC, high levels of immunity and the availability of COVID-19 prevention and management tools have reduced the risk for medically significant illness. While employers still must traverse through the complicated web of COVID-19 mitigation regulations, the CDC’s new relaxed guidance may signal a light at the end of the tunnel.
Prior to this update, individuals exposed to COVID-19 were instructed to quarantine for 5 days. This presented difficult operational challenges for employers, who were expected to monitor and trace COVID-19 exposures throughout their workforce and instruct exposed employees to quarantine, often at times when companies were already understaffed. Now, however, the CDC recommends that individuals exposed to COVID-19 wear a mask for ten days around others while monitoring for symptoms, eliminating the precautionary quarantine period. Additionally, exposed persons should test for COVID-19 five days after their exposure. If the test is positive, the CDC recommends isolating for either five days or 24 hours after symptoms cease, whichever is later.