A recent New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) advisory outlines updated guidance and regulations for healthcare personnel (HCP) returning to work after COVID-19 exposure and/or infection. The recommendations, according to the NYS protocol, are applicable to hospital, adult care facility, end stage renal disease facility, emergency medical service, home care, outpatient clinic and private practice employees. NYSDOH permits HCP to return to work following COVID-19 exposure or infection if they:
- are asymptomatic;
- conduct twice-a-day temperature and symptom checks;
- wear a facemask while working; and
- stop work immediately if symptoms consistent with the virus develop.
The advisory also says HCP with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must “have maintained isolation for at least 10 days after illness onset, must have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medications and must have other symptoms improving” before continuing to work. Those who have traveled internationally or to a state with a significant amount of community spread of COVID-19 are directed to undergo diagnostic testing within 24 hours of returning home.
NYSDOH notes that this protocol does not apply to nursing homes, which must follow the return to work guidance released on April 29, 2020, and requires 14 days of quarantine or isolation.
Additionally, the statewide coordinated testing prioritization process recently announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo classifies healthcare workers as high-risk for COVID-19 and says these individuals should be prioritized for diagnostic and/or serologic testing.
Visit the NYSDOH website for the complete list of criteria.
MLMIC encourages all our insured physicians, other healthcare providers and facility leadership to read the guidance promulgated by the NYSDOH to ensure compliance with its guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 among healthcare workers, and therefore lessening the potential of spread to co-workers, patients and others.
Policyholders are reminded to monitor the MLMIC COVID-19 resource page and blog for additional support on navigating the pandemic, including information on the latest developments in medicine and government.