New York Modifies Quarantine Guidelines for Persons Exposed to COVID-19

December 30, 2020Alerts

New York recently updated its quarantine guidelines for persons exposed to COVID-19 to conform with certain, updated recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month. New York employers should ensure that employee practices comply with these updated guidelines.

Individuals exposed to COVID-19 now can end their quarantine after 10 days (instead of 14 days) if they do not test positive for COVID-19 and they do not experience any symptoms during their quarantine period.  However, such individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and immediately self-isolate and contact their healthcare provider or the local health department if any symptoms develop.  For purposes of this guidance, an individual is “exposed” to COVID-19 if the individual was within six feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes within 48 hours before the infected person became ill.

There are special rules, however, for New York nursing home and adult care facility employers.  The updated guidelines state that employees of such facilities who are exposed to COVID-19 may be released from quarantine after 10 days; however, they cannot return to work until after 14 days.

Critically, New York’s updated quarantine guidelines only apply to persons who are exposed to COVID-19 and do not test positive or develop any symptoms.  There are no changes to New York’s guidelines for employees who: (i) test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19; and/or (ii) are exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms. Specifically:

  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must complete at least 10 days of isolation from the first positive test (if they do not experience any symptoms) or at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms (if they experience any symptoms); and
  • Employees who are exposed to COVID-19 and experience symptoms similarly must isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

Under either scenario, if employees experience symptoms, they cannot return to work until 72 hours after the resolution of any symptoms without the use of fever-reducing medications.  Accordingly, it is possible that employees will need to isolate for more than 10 days.

In response to New York’s modified quarantine guidelines, all New York employers should review and update their policies and procedures regarding employees exposed to COVID-19 and consult with counsel regarding any specific issues that may arise. 

For more information about this alert, please contact Jason B. Jendrewski at [email protected] or 212.878.7952, or any member of the firm’s New York Labor & Employment Group.