Q.: What type of test does the CDC recommend for someone who wants to return to work who has either been exposed to COVID or has COVID?
A: With regard to what type of test the CDC recommends for return to work, please see below. The CDC recommends the FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay test. Note, also, that this recommendation is specifically for healthcare workers. See the full CDC link on this topic for more detail.
• Test-based strategy. Exclude from work until:
o Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
o Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
o Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens). See Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Of note, there have been reports of prolonged detection of RNA without direct correlation to viral culture.
WHAT IF A WORKER HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH COVID-19?
Q. My associate doctor’s spouse tested positive for COVID. What am I required to do?
A. Please see this CDC link on what you should do if an employee or associate doctor’s spouse or significant other tests positive for COVID. Note that while the link, below, is directly on point, it is not specific to healthcare workers, but it is to critical workers (Federal, state and local law enforcement workers, 911 responders, janitorial staff). It does NOT require the worker to stay home for 14 days before returning to work.
1All test results should be final before isolation is ended. Testing guidance is based upon limited information and is subject to change as more information becomes available. In persons with a persistent productive cough, SARS-CoV-2-RNA might be detected for longer periods in sputum specimens than in upper respiratory tract specimens.