Employers, the CDC Has Updated Their COVID-19 Testing Guidance For Asymptomatic People

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has again updated their testing guidelines.

The new language, which you can review here, “clarifies” the recommendations made in August, but to me, it seems to be a rollback.It emphasizes that anyone who has been in contact with an infected person should be tested whether or not they show symptoms.

The updated guidance notes that even if people do not have symptoms, they should still need be tested for COVID-19 if they have been in close contact, i.e., within 6 feet, of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.

But, on August 24, the CDC site stated, as an update: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”

(emphasis supplied). This was highly criticized. I mean, doctors and scientists took to Twitter like you would not believe. Today, the CDC walked back that earlier guidance with this clarification.

The takeaway for employers is this: if one of your employees tests positive for COVID-19, sit that employee down and find out who, if any, other employees that person had close contact with for longer than 15 minutes.

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Amy Epstein Gluck

Amy Epstein Gluck has represented individuals and corporate clients in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and various federal district courts for more than twenty years. Ms. Epstein Gluck’s current practice areas include employment law—advising on and drafting employment agreements; handling employment negotiations, severance agreements, noncompete and nondisclosure agreements, “wrongful terminations” and other EEO matters; representation at the EEOC level; advising employers about discrimination laws and how to remain in compliance, and employment negotiations.