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12.23.20   |   COVID-19, Insights

Ohio Department of Health Updated Quarantine Policy

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On December 4, 2020, ODH (the Ohio Department of Health) announced new guidelines, which are a departure from their longstanding recommendation of when and how long an individual should quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Previously, ODH and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommended quarantining for at least 14 days after having close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The updated recommendations shorten the recommended time spent in quarantine from 14 days to:

10-Day Quarantine:

  • Quarantine period starts the day after the last contact with a known positive
  • Individuals with no symptoms can be released from quarantine – without a negative test, after 10 days from last exposure to COVID-19
  • Individuals must still self-monitor for symptoms though the 14th day from last exposure
  • If a person develops symptoms or tests positive, then they must begin an isolation period

However, individuals can be released from quarantine 7 days after exposure IF:

  • A COVID-19 test is taken on day 5 or later after exposure and is negative; AND
  • 7 days have passed since the last exposure to COVID-19 (even if negative test result is returned before the 7th day)
  • Individuals must still self-monitor for symptoms through the 14th day from last exposure
  • If a person develops symptoms or tests positive, then they must begin an isolation period

Despite these updates that shorten the length of time most individuals are encouraged to quarantine, the 14-day recommendation remains in effect for certain groups of people such as those who work or visit congregate living communities such as nursing homes, group homes, or college dorms.

Also, ODH recommends that individuals continue to self-monitor for any possible symptoms for the full 14-day period.

While these updates offer no direct guidance for employers, the shift in policy is likely to have an impact on the manner in which employers handle their employees being exposed to COVID-19. The shortened quarantine timeline means that employees are in theory able to safely return to work earlier than the previous guidelines indicated. However, all relevant government and health agencies have continued to emphasize that the health and safety of individuals continues to remain the highest priority.

Businesses seeking guidance on the possible ramifications of the updated government recommendations or businesses seeking guidance on what their internal protocol should be in light of these updates should reach out to Critchfield and allow our experienced Employment Law attorneys to assist you.

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