Covid-19 response

What risks are we taking if we shorten quarantine for an essential worker?

  • 1.  What risks are we taking if we shorten quarantine for an essential worker?

    Posted 12-10-2020 13:17
    Edited by Timothy Atkinson 01-05-2021 15:57
    I have not seen any guidelines from the New York State Department of Health that indicate that negative tests are acceptable to shorten quarantine for someone who tested positive or was in contact with someone carrying the infection. (But if someone finds something - please let me know.)
    However the CDC has made some recommendations to be considered by public health authorities about using testing to shorten quarantine, but they say these should be adopted depending on local circumstances and resources. If we see anything from New York State Department of Health that confirms this is acceptable in New York we will pass that on.
    Since animal hospital staff have extended close contact during their work, so you might want to err on the safe side of the CDC recommendations.

    Based on the charts shown above, the CDC has determined that quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.NOTE - This is offered as background information on the risks of bringing someone back early - NYSDOH does not accept this strategy for non-essential employees.
    CDC adds that even"With this strategy, the residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5% with an upper limit of about 12%." In other words, their research indicates that for every 10 hospitals that might allow an employee to return to work early following a negative test, one of them may experience transmission to other staff.
    If you do choose to allow quarantined employees to return to work earlier than the NY State recommended 14-day period this CDC article will give you the available research that quantifies the risks you are taking.

    Tim Atkinson
    Albany NY