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Clarification On Quarantine

Here are the official CDC definitions of isolation and quarantine:

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Exposure is basically divided into two types: “close contact” and “contact” that raise the question of quarantine. Close contacts should quarantine at home. Contacts (not close contacts) can still come to work, closely monitoring the possible development of symptoms and using strict masking and distancing protocols.

If someone hasn’t personally been with a COVID-19 positive person, they do not need to quarantine. HOWEVER, let’s say your employee, John Doe, lives live with someone who is a close contact of a COVID-19 case (let’s call her Jane Doe), and as a result, Jane has to quarantine. John should avoid being anywhere near Jane and they should be in separate rooms and using separate bathrooms if at all possible. If Jane gets negative COVID tests and doesn’t develop symptoms, obviously John doesn’t have to do anything else. However, if Jane catches the virus, then she needs to isolate and John becomes a close contact and must quarantine. That means John will be off of work for the duration of the quarantine.

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