Guidance on isolation following a positive COVID-19 test

January 12, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

In response to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and as a result of large numbers of employee absences due to COVID-19 infection, Michigan Medicine is updating “return to work” guidelines for employees who test positive for COVID-19.  The updated guidance, which was created in consultation with our Infection Prevention and Occupational Health Services teams, is included below.

As of today, Jan. 12, Michigan Medicine is reducing the isolation period from 10 days to 7 days for employees who test positive for COVID-19. A negative test is NOT required prior to returning to work.

What this guidance means:

  • Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic should return to work after a 7-day isolation period. 
  • Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild symptoms should return to work after a 7-day isolation period provided symptoms are improving and they are afebrile for the prior 24 hours without use of fever reducing medications.  
  • Employees with immunocompromising conditions should not return to work at 7 days and instead follow OHS guidance for return to work.  
  • Employees who are still experiencing symptoms, or do not feel they can return to work safely after 7 days, should continue to coordinate with OHS to determine a return-to-work timeline.
  • Employees should not remove their medical mask around others through day 10.   

Employees who are still experiencing symptoms on day 7 should not return to work until their symptoms have lessened and at least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

This change has not been made lightly. Studies suggest that most transmission occurs early in infection just before individuals are symptomatic or in the first 5 days of symptoms. Shortening the isolation period will enable asymptomatic employees, or those with mild symptoms who feel healthy enough to return to work, to return to work sooner, helping Michigan Medicine continue providing quality care and other necessary services for our patients and their families by easing some of the staffing shortages we are facing.

As a reminder, if employees have symptoms concerning for COVID-19, they should complete the OHS COVID-19 symptom survey available here. Please utilize only one of these options for reporting symptoms. If you complete the online survey, OHS staff will review and order COVID-19 testing for you if indicated. More information can be found on the OHS website.