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18 Jan

New York State Requiring Healthcare Nurses to Be Vaccinated

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Update Applicable to:
All employers of healthcare and essential workers in the state of New York

What happened?
On December 24, 2021, the NYSDOH issued updated isolation and quarantine guidance for fully vaccinated healthcare and other essential workers infected with COVID-19, allowing them to return to work after five days of isolation, so long as each worker is asymptomatic, or their symptoms have mostly resolved. 

What are the details?
Effective Immediately, employers may allow a covered employee who experienced COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 to return to work after five days of isolation if the individual:

  • is a “critical workforce member,” which includes employees that work at restaurants and bars;
  • has been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks;
  • is asymptomatic or, if they have mild symptoms, when they return to work they must:
    • have experienced an improvement in those mild symptoms,
    • have no more than a minimal cough, and
    • not have had a fever for the previous 72 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication; and
  • is able to consistently wear a disposable mask at work until they complete the 10-day isolation period.

The guidance defines day zero of the isolation period as either the first date of symptoms (if symptomatic) or the date of collection of the first positive test (if asymptomatic). The guidance also explicitly states that testing is not a requirement to return to work under this program. Furthermore, individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are not eligible to return to work under this guidance and must continue to self-isolate for a period of at least 10 days.

Individuals returning to work under this guidance must continue to stay at home, take precautions to avoid household transmission, and observe other required elements of isolation while not at work until the end of the 10-day period.

Employers must instruct an employee making an early return to work that the employee should:

  • practice social distancing from coworkers at all times, except when job duties do not permit such distancing;
  • separate themselves from others if they must remove their face mask for certain reasons, such as to eat or drink; and
  • continue to self-monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation if symptoms recur or worsen.

For more information, please see the links below:

New York Department of Health Guidance for Healthcare Workers

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers review the links provided above and adjust their COVID-19 quarantine policy.


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