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28 Apr

April 2021 New York HR Legal Updates

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New York Updates Health Care Personnel COVID-19 Guidance

Update Applicable to:
New York employers operating within the healthcare industry.

What happened?
On April 1, 2021, the New York Department of Health (NY DOH) issued an update to its prior guidance for health care personnel on returning to work following COVID-19 exposure.

What are the details?
The information contained in the updated guidance supersedes any other previous guidance related to fully vaccinated, asymptomatic healthcare personnel (healthcare employees) returning to work after exposure to COVID-19 or travel. Per the update, all healthcare facilities are expected to know which of their staff has been vaccinated. Any vaccinated staff who did not receive the vaccine through their workplace must inform the facility of their vaccination status through the same process the facility uses to maintain information on annual influenza immunizations and tuberculosis tests.

Asymptomatic health care employees who have had “exposure to” or been in “contact” with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 (as defined in the updated guidance), may return to work after completing a 10-day quarantine without testing if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period, provided these conditions are met:

  • Health care employees must continue daily symptom monitoring through day 14;
  • Health care employees must be counseled to continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene, the use of face masks or other appropriate respiratory protection face coverings, and the use of eye protection;
  • Health care employees must be advised that if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority and/or their supervisor to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.
  • Health care employees exposed to COVID-19 who are working in nursing homes or adult care facilities certified as Enhanced Assisted Living Residences (EALR) or licensed as Assisted Living Programs (ALP) who complete the 10-day quarantine cannot return to their workplace (must furlough) through the 14th day after exposure unless they meet the vaccination or recent SARS-CoV-2 recovery criteria below.

There are further guidelines that may be read in the provided article for the following circumstances:

  • Asymptomatic Health Care Personnel Exposed to COVID-19 Who Are Recovered From SARS-CoV-2
  • Guidelines for Asymptomatic Health Care Personnel and Travel

An article providing a detailed breakdown of the guidelines can be found here.

The guidelines can be found here.

What do employers need to do? New York employers should update their workplace policies as needed to reflect the changes permitted by the state.