On Dec. 23, the CDC released updated Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages. Key points included in the revised guidance include:
- In general, asymptomatic staff who have had a higher-risk exposure do not require work restriction if they have received all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster dose, as recommended by CDC and do not develop symptoms or test positive for SARS-CoV-2. (The definition of higher-risk exposure was updated to include use of a facemask (instead of a respirator) by staff if the infected patient is not also wearing a facemask or cloth mask)
- Added options that would allow asymptomatic HCP with a higher-risk exposure who have not received all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster dose, as recommended by CDC to return to work prior to the previously recommended 14-day post-exposure period of work restriction, assuming they do not develop symptoms or test positive for SARS-CoV-2.
- Revised return to work guidance for staff who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. The below mitigation strategies are intended to be used sequentially and facilities should document efforts made to fulfill staffing needs in each level.
- Conventional strategy: 10 days or 7 days with negative test, if asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic (with improving symptoms)
- Contingency strategy: 5 days, with or without negative tests, if asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic (with improving symptoms)
- Crisis strategy: No work restrictions with prioritization of asymptomatic then mildly symptomatic with improving symptoms.