On August 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. We are currently reviewing CDC updates and will update our guidance accordingly.

Local businesses should review all information on this page for guidance on how to handle COVID-19 cases, outbreaks, and exposures.

Review the latest CDC Quarantine and Isolation Guidance for more information.

 
Separate toolkit pages are available for schools, childcare, and healthcare facilities.

POSITIVE EMPLOYEES

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate. Employees should report a positive test, including an at-home test, to their employer so that contact tracing can take place.

Length of Isolation Period:

  • Those who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate at home for at least 5 days.
    • The date of symptom onset (or the test date, if asymptomatic) is considered Day 0.
    • Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms begin (or the first full day after the test date, if asymptomatic).
  • Isolation may end after Day 5 (returning to work/other activities on Day 6) if the individual is:
    • Fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medications, and
    • Symptoms are improving. Note that some mild symptoms may persist beyond this time period.
  • Employers may set policies that specify longer isolation periods based on factors specific to their business, such as ability to work remotely or closeness of employees in the facility. Employees should follow their employer’s policies and procedures for returning to work following a positive COVID-19 test.
  • See the latest guidance for more details:

 

When an Employee Tests Positive:

  • If an employee states that they tested positive for COVID-19, request proof of the test result and gather relevant information about the employee, including when their symptoms began (or if they are asymptomatic), when they last worked, and individuals with whom they may have recently been in contact.
  • Review the employee’s activities during their infectious period, the two days prior to symptom onset (or if asymptomatic, the two days prior to the test collection).
  • Determine if any individuals in the business meet the definition of a close contact:
    • Spending a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period within 6 feet of the infected person during their infectious period, or
    • Having direct contact with the infected person during their infectious period.
  • Notify all close contacts of their exposure.
  • Following the latest CDC Quarantine and Isolation Guidance, exclude employees who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. See below for more information.

 

At-Home Tests:

  • You can and should exclude employees from work based on a positive at-home test result.
  • Negative at-home test results should not be used to allow an employee to return to work (either from isolation or quarantine).
  • Individuals are not exempt from isolation after a repeat positive result (within 90 days of a previous positive) if their initial positive test was only an at-home test and not confirmed by a second test from a health care provider or testing site.
  • Read more about at-home tests in the WI DHS At-Home COVID-19 Tests fact sheet.

 

Outbreak or Significant Increase in Cases:

  • If your business experiences a suspected outbreak (two or more cases which are linked through close contact) or large increase in COVID-19 cases or illness in general, please reach out to the City of Racine Public Health Department.
  • Contact us at [email protected] or call 262-636-9201. Select Option 1 or 2 (for English or Spanish, respectively) and then Option 5. Leave a message if your call is not answered.
  • When contacting us, provide the following:
    • Business name and location,
    • Best contact person and their contact information,
    • Number of ill and exposed employees, visitors, etc., and
    • Other relevant information based on your business.

 

IMPORTANT:
Due to recent alterations to COVID-19 disease investigation and contact tracing protocols, not all individuals will be contacted by the Public Health Department after a positive test or notice of close contact. It is essential that businesses exclude employees who are ill or test positive while also notifying and excluding close contacts, as appropriate.

Employers should not require employees to have documentation or a release letter from the Public Health Department for returning to work. Employers also should not require employees who tested positive for COVID-19 to provide a negative test result prior to returning to work; instead, follow the guidance above.

CLOSE CONTACTS

Determine Who is a Close Contact:

  • A close contact is someone who meets one of the following criteria:
    • Spending a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 during their infectious period (the two days prior to symptom onset or the test date, if asymptomatic), or
    • Having direct contact with the infected person during their infectious period.

 

Determine if a Close Contact Must Quarantine:

  • See the latest guidance for quarantine details:
  • After close contact with someone who has COVID-19, the need to quarantine depends on an individual’s vaccination status and recent history of COVID-19 infection:
    • If Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccinations:
      • No need to self-quarantine at home.
      • Must wear a mask for 10 full days (after the exposure) when around others, especially in public. Do not go places where a mask cannot be worn.
      • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days (after the exposure). If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and get tested if possible.
      • Get tested for COVID-19 at least 5 days after the last exposure.
      • Take precautions if traveling and avoid being around people who are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
    • If NOT Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccinations:
      • Must self-quarantine at home for at least 5 days after the exposure. Wear a mask when around others in the home.
      • Get tested for COVID-19 at least 5 days after the last exposure, if possible.
      • After quarantining at home for 5 days, must wear a mask when around others in public for 5 additional days. Do not go places where a mask cannot be worn.
      • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days (after the exposure). If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and get tested if possible.
      • Do not travel and avoid being around people who are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
    • If Tested Positive for COVID-19 Within the Past 90 Days:
      • The positive test must have been conducted by a health care provider or authorized testing site; at-home COVID-19 tests DO NOT qualify unless proctored by a health care professional.
      • No need to self-quarantine at home.
      • Must wear a mask for 10 full days (after the exposure) when around others, especially in public. Do not go places where a mask cannot be worn.
      • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days (after the exposure). If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and get tested if possible.
      • Take precautions if traveling and avoid being around people who are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

 

IMPORTANT:
Due to recent alterations to COVID-19 disease investigation and contact tracing protocols, not all individuals will be contacted by the Public Health Department after a positive test or notice of close contact. It is essential that businesses exclude employees who are required to quarantine per the above criteria in order to stop further spread of disease.

Employers also should not require employees to have documentation or a release letter from the Public Health Department for returning to work; instead, follow the guidance above.

QUESTIONS?

Email [email protected] or call 262-636-9201 and select Option 1, then Option 5. Inform the front desk you are calling from a business with a COVID-19 question or concern and your call will be directed appropriately. If you do not receive an answer, leave a message with your name, the name of the business, contact information, and your question or concern. Your call will be returned as quickly as possible.

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