Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Healthcare Workers
These guidelines are specific for healthcare workers, including healthcare workers in long-term care facilities or similar settings.
KDHE defines a healthcare worker as all paid or unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings. This may include, but is not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, home healthcare personnel, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, dental healthcare personnel, reception, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (ex. environmental services).
Isolation (Test Positive or Have Symptoms after Exposure)
What happens if a healthcare worker tests positive for COVID-19?
- Isolate at home for 10 days or 7 days with a negative PCR or antigen test, if asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic with improving symptoms.
- Healthcare workers who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic with improving symptoms should work only with COVID-19 positive patients during the 10 day infectious period, unless the facility is in crisis staffing.
- KDHE and SCHD allow for shorter isolation periods under contingency and crisis staffing levels. Healthcare workers should work with their occupational health to determine appropriate isolation periods for their situation and facility.
Quarantine (Close Contact of Someone with COVID-19)
Who is considered a “close contact?”
You are considered a “close contact” if any of the following situations happened while you were with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 – even if they did not have symptoms:
- You were within 6 feet of the person for 15 cumulative minutes in a 24-hour period.
- You had contact with the person’s respiratory secretions (sneezing, coughing, sharing a drinking glass, food, towels or other personal items, kissing).
- You live with the person or stayed overnight for at least one night in the person’s house.
What happens if a healthcare worker is a close contact of a person with COVID-19?
Quarantine for People who are Unvaccinated or Not Up to Date for Vaccination
- People who are unvaccinated or fully vaccinated with Pfizer/Comirnaty or Moderna/Spikevax more than 5 months ago without a booster, or fully vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson more than 2 months ago without a booster should follow the guidelines below as long as they are asymptomatic.
- Conventional staffing levels: quarantine at home for 10 days or 7 days with a negative test
- Contingency staffing levels: no work restrictions with a negative test on days 1, 2, 3, & 5-7.
- Crisis staffing levels: no work restrictions, but test if possible.
Quarantine Exemption for People who are Up to Date for COVID-19 Vaccination or within 90 days of COVID-19 Infection and Asymptomatic
- KDHE and SCHD currently allow the below quarantine exemptions
- People with a booster dose
- People who are up to date for vaccination
- Up to date means having all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster dose(s) at the time of exposure
- You must be at least 14 days from the date of your second dose of Pfizer/Comirnaty or Moderna/Spikevax or single-dose of Johnson & Johnson at the time of exposure to be considered exempt from quarantine.
- People with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days (does not include antibody tests or at-home antigen tests)
- People who meet the above criteria should follow the guidelines below.
- Conventional staffing levels: no work restrictions with a negative test on days 2 and 5-7.
- Contingency or crisis staffing levels: no work restrictions.
Who determines if the facility is operating in conventional, contingency, or crisis staffing levels?
It is up to the facility to determine if their facility is in conventional, contingency, or crisis staffing. Definitions for each level are provided below.
- Conventional Staffing: No anticipated staffing shortages
- Contingency Staffing: Staffing shortages are anticipated
- Crisis Staffing: Staffing shortages are occurring