A COVID test-based return-to-work strategy no longer is recommended for healthcare professionals in most cases under updated criteria released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal agency said the reason for the move away from a test-based strategy is that “in the majority of cases, it results in excluding from work HCP who continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA but are no longer infectious.” Generally, the CDC said, a symptom-based strategy should be used to decide when healthcare professionals should return to work.
Also, for healthcare professionals who have severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised, the CDC has changed the duration for work exclusion to at least 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms began.
A test-based strategy still could be considered to allow healthcare professionals to return to work earlier than if a symptom-based strategy were used, the CDC said. “A test-based strategy could also be considered for some HCP (e.g., those who are severely immunocompromised) in consultation with local infectious diseases experts if concerns exist for the HCP being infectious for more than 20 days,” the agency said.
See all of the recommendations here.