View all Articles

The CDC Ends the Five-Day Isolation Period for COVID-19  

In a move that stands to have wide-ranging impacts on the workplace, effective March 1, 2024, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people with COVID-19 no longer need to isolate once they have been fever-free for 24 hours. The agency has updated its recommendations for COVID-19 to bring them in line with its advice for other kinds of respiratory infections, including influenza and RSV. 

The CDC still recommends that individuals stay home when they are sick, seek testing, and get treatment to lower the chance of severe illness. Notably, the CDC’s website states, “This guidance does not apply to healthcare settings. Nothing in this guidance supersedes accommodations required under federal civil rights laws.” 

Next Steps 

Employers must still balance the need to maintain workplace productivity with the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of employees. While shortening isolation periods might reduce short-term disruption, it is important to consider the potential long-term impact of increased workplace transmission. Employers should continue to have policies in place that encourage workers to stay home if they are ill. 

Some states and localities still have COVID-19 leave requirements in place, including New York state and it is unclear if the change in CDC guidance would have an impact on these laws.  

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.