COVID-19: Return to Work for Healthcare Workers, Isolation While Awaiting Test Results, and Transfers to Long-Term Care Facilities

Posted August 14, 2020. Past health advisories and alerts are archived for historical purposes and are not maintained or updated.


Changes to Return to Work for Healthcare Workers and First Responders

Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is now following guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) regarding return to work criteria for healthcare workers and first responders.  SRHD no longer recommends extended isolation if working with high risk populations. Instead, healthcare workers and first responders should use the same criteria as the general public:

  • For mild to moderate illness in persons who are not severely immunocompromised:
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
    • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
    • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
  • For asymptomatic infection in persons who are not severely immunocompromised:
    • At least 10 days have passed since test date without development of symptoms.
  • For severe to critical illness (i.e., hospitalized) or in persons who are severely immunocompromised:
    • At least 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
    • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
    • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
  • For asymptomatic infection in persons who are severely immunocompromised:
    • At least 20 days have passed since test date without development of symptoms.


Messaging to Patients Tested for COVID-19

SRHD continues to receive reports of COVID-19 cases who are not isolating while awaiting test results. If your patient meets the criteria for testing (through exposure and/or compatible symptoms), please stress the importance of isolating away from others while awaiting test results.

Updated Guidance for Transferring Between Long-Term Care & Healthcare

Washington State Department of Health updated guidance for transferring COVID-19 patients between healthcare settings and long-term care facilities (LTCF). Notably, the guidance states that LTCFs should accept residents back from all healthcare settings, regardless of SARS-CoV-2 status, as long as the LTCF is able to provide the appropriate level of care under the appropriate transmission-based precautions. Testing should not be required prior to transfer of a resident from an acute-care facility to a LTCF.

 Full guidance can be found here.