January 05, 2022 NYS Department of Health Issues Guidance on Adopting the CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine/Isolation Periods
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
We are writing to advise you that the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”) recently issued revised guidance (Interim Updated Isolation & Quarantine Guidance) adopting the CDC’s current recommendations for the durations of COVID-19 isolations and quarantines.
In summary, the following guidelines now apply in most settings:
o Five days (previously 10), where day 0 is the date of symptom onset or, if asymptomatic, the day of the collection of the first positive specimen (i.e., the day of the individual’s test that led to the positive COVID-19 test result).
o If asymptomatic after the five days or if symptoms are resolving at that time, the isolation may end and the individual should wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional five days.
o Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised or who are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for five days while around others (after completing the five-day isolation period) should continue to isolate for the standard (i.e., 10-day/not shortened) period.
• Quarantine (day 0 is the last date of exposure):
o No quarantine period is required if the individual is fully vaccinated and boosted (with the booster having been completed at least two weeks before the first date of exposure) or if fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster. A well-fitting mask should, however, be worn while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
o A five-day quarantine period is required for those who are not fully vaccinated or for those who are fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster, but not yet boosted. A well-fitting mask should be worn while around others for an additional five days following the five-day quarantine period.
o For all exposed individuals, it is recommended that testing occur on day five (PCR or antigen/rapid test).
o If symptoms appear, individuals must quarantine and should get tested. Quarantine may end upon receipt of a negative test result. If testing is not done, follow the above-referenced isolation guidance.
Notably, the guidance also provides that the State anticipates additional CDC guidance for schools and congregate care settings will be issued soon and that the NYSDOH will review it when it becomes available (i.e., the State is not automatically adopting that guidance). With respect to schools, specifically, the guidance provides as follows: “For the time being, schools should follow current NYS school guidance regarding school attendance unless the local health department (LHD) issues alternative guidance. In the event the LHD issues alternative guidance, adhere to the LHD guidance for the school community.”
We recognize that this guidance fails to address a number of questions (e.g., when day 0 of quarantine starts for an individual who lives with a COVID-19-infected person; whether a negative at-home COVID-19 test is sufficient to end quarantine when symptoms appear; etc.). We encourage you to contact us to discuss how best to handle any unanswered situations that may arise while we await clarification from the State.
If you have any questions regarding the current NYSDOH COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines, please contact Alyssa L. Zuckerman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or one of our other attorneys at 631-694-2300.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
 With the exception of healthcare workers, this new guidance expressly “supersedes the essential worker portion of the December 24 Shortened Isolation guidance.” Healthcare workers remain subject to that guidance.
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