The other day, I read this story about a local attorney who appeared in court in person — even though she knew that her young son was at home with COVID-19. Her decision so inflamed the judge that he immediately closed the courtroom and had the sheriff’s deputies remove the lawyer from the courthouse.
But then the president judge then took it one step further.
He banned the lawyer from the courthouse until she could produce negative COVID-19 test results for herself, her child, and anyone else with whom she lives.
What does the CDC say about this?
I make it a practice not to second-guess the person holding a gavel and wearing the black robe. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer recommends a test-based strategy to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain limited circumstances.
Oh, you didn’t know?
Check it out. As of July 20, according to the CDC, “[a]ccumulating evidence supports ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy…Therefore, CDC has updated the recommendations for discontinuing home isolation as follows:”
Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms have improved.
*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. See Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (Interim Guidance).
Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptoms may discontinue isolation and other precautions 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
That’s not to say that a second COVID-19 test to determine whether someone is no longer positive is worthless. For example, a test-based strategy may be better for persons who are severely immunocompromised. Plus, you can still insist on one as a condition of an employee returning to work after testing positive. Well, at least until the EEOC updates its guidance.
Overall, it seems that the value of the second test does not outweigh the cost and burden it may place on the healthcare system. The moral of the story here is to do your best to stay up to date on CDC COVID-19 guidance, which is easier said than done.
See for Friday for another Zoom.
Speaking of helpful guidance, consider joining me and my friends from the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office on Friday, August 14, 2020, at Noon EDT. We’re going to discuss the EEOC’s mediation program, including its new mediation pilot program. Among other things, we’ll answer your questions and offer some tips and best practices to succeed at EEOC mediation (and avoid the costly alternative of expensive litigation of employment claims).
If all this sounds good, it’s free, and you can register here.