The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has released updated guidance for making decisions about return to work for healthcare personnel (HCP) with confirmed COVID-19, or who have suspected COVID-19 (e.g., developed symptoms of COVID-19 but did not get tested for COVID-19). These updates are consistent with those published by the CDC on July 17, 2020. This 2020-PAHAN-516-07-18-UPD replaces PA-HAN-501. The changes include:
- Except for rare situations, a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to allow HCP to return to work
- For healthcare providers (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 20 days after their initial positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test for asymptomatic persons)
- 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 the expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19
If you have questions about this guidance, please contact DOH at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or your local health department.