Emergency Preparedness News and Announcements

Updated Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Summary of Recent Changes

Update: This Interim Guidance was updated and archived on April 12, 2020. Updates were made to align with revisions to the public health recommendations for community-related exposure to COVID-19, which changed the period of exposure risk from “onset of symptoms” to “48 hours before symptom onset.”

Given the ongoing transmission of COVID-19 in communities across the United States and the role that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals with COVID-19 play in transmission, the feasibility and benefits of formal contact tracing for exposures in healthcare settings are likely limited and this guidance is being archived. No further updates are planned.

Healthcare facilities should consider foregoing contact tracing for exposures in a healthcare setting in favor of universal source control for healthcare personnel (HCP) and screening for fever and symptoms of COVID-19 before every shift.  Additional infection prevention and control recommendations, including more details about universal source control in healthcare settings are available.

Purpose

This interim guidance is intended to assist with assessment of risk, monitoring, and work restriction decisions for HCP with potential exposure to COVID-19. Separate guidance is available for travelers and exposures in U.S. communitiesBecause of their often extensive and close contact with vulnerable individuals in healthcare settings, a conservative approach to HCP monitoring and restriction from work was taken to quickly identify early symptoms and prevent transmission from potentially contagious HCP to patients, HCP, and visitors. The signs and symptoms* described in this guidance are broader than those described when assessing exposures for individuals not working in healthcare. Healthcare facilities should have a low threshold for evaluating symptoms and testing symptomatic HCP, particularly those who fall into the high- and medium-risk categories described in this guidance.

This guidance is based on currently available data about COVID-19. Recommendations regarding which HCP are restricted from work may not anticipate every potential scenario and will change if indicated by new information.

Healthcare facilities, in consultation with public health authorities, should use clinical judgement as well as the principles outlined in this guidance to assign risk and determine need for work restrictions. CDC remains available for further consultation by calling the Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100. This cautious approach will be refined and updated as more information becomes available and as response needs change in the United States.

Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel