Returning to the workforce after testing positive for COVID-19

Returning to the workforce after testing positive for COVID-19

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - There are two ways employees can return to work after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Ali Hassoun with Huntsville Hospital.

“You test them 10 days from being positive, and test them as long as they are symptom free for about three days,” Dr. Hassoun said.

This way requires two negative results where the tests are taken 24 hours apart.

Meanwhile, Hassoun said the second way is used mostly by essential employees in healthcare who are expecting a staffing shortage.

“The second one is called symptom-base,” Hassoun said. “The symptom-base is for those who had symptoms and were positive. After 10 days from when their symptoms started, and at least three days since they’ve experienced any symptoms is when they can return,” Hassoun said. For health care workers using this method, Hassoun said they must use PPE.

Contrary to popular belief, Hassoun said this way actually poses minimal risk, even though technically these employees could still test positive for the virus.

“They check for DNA and RNA particles, and you can find these positive for many weeks actually, but it doesn’t mean they are infectious anymore,” he said.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said whether essential employees return to work without two negative tests should be decided on a case by case basis. “This depends on staffing and facilities,” she said.

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