COVID-19: Release from Isolation & Return to Work for Healthcare Worker Guidance Updated Recommendations

Posted July 23, 2020. Past health advisories and alerts are archived for historical purposes and are not maintained or updated.


The following COVID Healthcare Infection Prevention & Control guidance has been updated:

Recent changes are summarized below (as of July 17, 2020): 

Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings

  • Except for rare situations, a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions.
  • For patients with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised, the recommended duration for Transmission-Based Precautions was extended to 20 days after symptom onset (or, for asymptomatic severely immunocompromised patients, 20 days after their initial positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test).
  • Other symptom-based criteria were modified as follows:
    • Changed from “at least 72 hours” to “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms” to address expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • A summary of current evidence and rationale for these changes is described in a Decision Memo.

Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

  • Except for rare situations, a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to allow HCP to return to work.
  • For HCP with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised, the recommended duration for work exclusion was extended to 20 days after symptom onset (or, for asymptomatic severely immunocompromised HCP, 20 days after their initial positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test).
  • Other symptom-based criteria were modified as follows:
    • Changed from “at least 72 hours” to “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms” to address expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • A summary of current evidence and rationale for these changes is described in a Decision Memo.