*The information below is for general educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek the advice of counsel for specific questions or interpretations.
The VDH has issued guidelines around what to do if you were potentially exposed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). If you believe you were exposed without wearing proper PPE, the guidelines recommend a 14 day quarantine, and recommend that, “If you test negative during your quarantine period, you will still need to complete your full 14 day quarantine.” These are VDH guidelines, which are not enforceable as law.
The DOLI Emergency Temporary Standard is controlling in this instance because it is enforceable. The DOLI ETS requires a minimum of 10 days from exposure + at least 24 hours of improving symptoms or symptom free OR 2 negative tests more than 24 hours apart.
That being said, there is a lot of information from a public health standpoint that is evolving. For instance, we know that rapid antigen tests are not accurate when a person is asymptomatic. The PCR test is accurate overall. The DOLI ETS does not specify which test is required to return to work. We recommend employees consult with their primary care provider before returning to work. We also recommend consulting with counsel if you have concerns about your return to work policy.
We expect things to change with the draft permanent standard for return to work guidelines, but this is where we stand for now.