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When Can You Go Back to Work after a Positive Covid-19 Test?

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Apr 17, 2021
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Many of us have started going to work, college, and other places after a very long break. The risk of getting COVID-19 is still there, and the question on everyone’s mind is – ‘when is it safe to return to the office after testing positive for COVID-19, or when can we go back to work after coronavirus?’

When can you go back to work?

If you tested positive and are under quarantine, this information will give you an idea of it.

When is it safe to go back to work?

When is it safe to go back to work?

This is the question a lot of people have been asking themselves now. Employees that have tested positive should only go back once they’ve been tested negative and fulfill the criteria for discontinuing home isolation.

Ideally, they should consult with a local health department, or a healthcare provider for a return to work plan. In certain places, the employees may have to provide negative COVID-19 test results or a healthcare provider’s note.   

When is it safe to be around others?

When is it safe to be around others?

Suppose you had COVID-19 with all of the symptoms. The first step is to isolate and get yourself tested after the stipulated quarantine time. You can be back at work once you’ve fulfilled these criteria:

  • It’s been 10 days since symptoms first appeared
  • You had no fever for 24 hours without using fever control medications
  • There’s improvement in other symptoms

Other than these you must keep in mind that loss of taste and smell lasts for a week even after you’ve recovered.   

What to do if you test positive but have no symptoms?

What to do if you test positive but have no symptoms?

There are instances of people testing positive but don’t have the symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, you need to wait 10 days before getting back to work after quarantine. So, when can you go back to work? Ask your healthcare provider if testing is recommended so you know about it. If you do have symptoms along with a positive test, you’d have to follow all the protocols advised by the CDC. Post the stipulated quarantine period, go for a back to work testing to see if you can venture outdoors. Nevertheless, you can sit back in your office ergonomic chair and carry on working remotely.    

What to do if you test negative but have symptoms?

In this case, you may have little traces of the virus, or your test specimen wasn’t taken properly. The virus count might have been slightly higher, just enough for it to be located, resulting in a false negative report. If you do have the characteristic symptoms – fever, cough, breathlessness – contact your doctor immediately. Communicate with your manager, and colleagues to inform them about your situation and take leave if required.  

What to do when health conditions/medications severely weaken your immune system?

immune system?

If you’ve had a serious COVID-19 attack, then you could only take a return to work risk assessment after 20 days. Per-testing is also required for those who are immunocompromised, but if you have anxiety of going back to work, consult your doctor. In severe cases, your health care provider will tell you when it's OK to go back to work. 

What to do if you’ve been in contact with a person with COVID-19?

In this case, you should be at home for 14 days since the last time you met that person. Usually, you can work with your doctor to shorten this isolation time. However, if you’ve been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, you can skip isolation if you meet these criteria: 

  • If you are fully vaccinated and don’t have COVID-19 symptoms
  • If you contracted, recovered from, and have been free of symptoms in the last 3 months

Retesting before work, even after isolation

Retesting before work

If you’ve completed the 10-day isolation period with mild illness, your manager might ask you to get retested. This isn’t recommended but is done for the safety of your colleagues. It is safe for you to return as you’re no longer infectious. It means that you developed symptoms 10 days before and don’t have any symptoms for the last 3 days or 72 hours. If you’ve completed the 10-day quarantine period without developing more symptoms, you can go back to work on day 11. You may not need the test, but you do need to be careful - good hygiene, face masks for Covid-19, and social distancing.       

Virus transferring after 10 days

The first 3 days after contracting symptoms are said to be the infectious period. It could be a little longer than that based on the nature of viruses. The more of the virus you have, the higher the possibilities of transmission risks. So, people with very severe illnesses are more infectious.     

When you are not comfortable returning to work

returning to work

Employees who are at higher risk should work remotely using tools like an adjustable standing desk for comfort. Supervisors must focus on the individual needs of employees, knowing that many don’t need to work out of offices. They might even have special circumstances that prevent these employees from working. Besides, continued physical distancing, safety precautions are critical, and thus, remote work works best so far. 

What about group meetings

Group discussions, training sessions, and meetings should be online. In one way, it’s good for employers, who can now save on office furniture bulk order! Offices that are fully remote now or have opted for a blended work environment use platforms or tools like Zoom, Teams, and Skype for meetings. 

Showing symptoms after 10 days

Certain patients continue to exhibit symptoms even after 10 days. Health experts say that full recovery takes several weeks. Patients who have symptoms after the isolation period can only leave isolation if the fever is not there. Fever should dissipate without the use of antipyretic medication, and there should be recovery from other symptoms. 

Now the question of when can you go back to work is no longer difficult to answer. Let’s follow these tips to make your health in the best condition and work in a safe office space.

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